How bright will the Starlink satellites be? | 6/1/2019 | Guy Ottewell
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View larger. | West after sunset on an ordinary Saturday in early June. In 2019, Mars can be seen in this part of the sky. Some skywatchers fear the Starlink satellites – by virtue of their numbers – will interfere with astronomy. See the chart below. Charts via Guy Ottewell’s blog.

Originally published at Guy Ottewell’s blog. Reprinted here with permission.

Editor - Note - Skywatchers - Weekend - Train

Editor’s Note: Skywatchers were awed last weekend to see a “train” of SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the night sky. Many wanted to see them. Quickly, though, we began hearing rumbles from veteran observers about what will happen to our skies if and when SpaceX carries out its plan of deploying some 12,000 of these satellites. SpaceX expects to put roughly 720 satellites into orbit in 2019. No one is sure yet how bright the satellites will be, when fully deployed and in their final orbits. This post from astronomers Guy Ottewell is one of many we’ve seen this week, expressing worry from lovers of Earth’s night skies.

The chart above shows the evening sky for Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Mars - North - Part - Declination - North

Mars, traveling north of the northermost part of the ecliptic, was at its greatest declination north (more than 24°) on May 16. But it is still falling lower in the evening sky, to pass behind the sun on September 2. Mercury, moving in the opposite direction, came from behind the sun on May 21 and will be farthest out on June 23.

The moon is well below the horizon at this time – it will be new, passing the sun, on June 3. So the sky will be dark, if clear of clouds and of light-pollution.

View - View - Saturday - Night - Sky

View larger. | This view is purely imaginary. It’s Saturday night’s sky (same chart as above), but in a future world. We don’t know yet how bright the Starlink satellites...
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