Astronomers from the University of Warsaw analyzed space images and found that up to 20% of frames are corrupted due to passing Starlink satellites.
The researchers analyzed archival photographs taken by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and found that the Internet satellites of the Starlink system seriously interfere with scientific observations. According to researchers, devices placed in near-Earth orbit leave traces in the form of stripes in the sky.
Now there are more than 1,800 devices in low Earth orbit that organize broadband Internet access. Apparatuses are increasingly beginning to interfere with astronomical observations. Scientists have long been sounding the alarm, fearing that when the constellation reaches the promised scale – about 40 thousand satellites – the work on many ground-based telescopes will be practically stopped.
The authors of the new work analyzed data from ZTF from November 2019 to September 2021. As a result, it turned out that in total there were 5.3 thousand bands from satellites on satellite images.
The researchers tracked the growth in the number of corrupted images, if in 2019 they were 0.5%, now they are 20%.
Scientists fear that when the group reaches 10 thousand (SpaceX plans to achieve this by 2027), observations will become almost impossible.