Research: Satellites are increasingly influencing astronomical observations | Starlink | Hubble Telescope

Research: Satellites are increasingly influencing astronomical observations | Starlink | Hubble Telescope

[TheEpochTimesMarch192023](Epoch Times reporter Zhang Bingkai compiles and reports) Human beings launch spacecraft into space to facilitate ground communication, but these spacecraft will also interfere with astronomical observations. The growing number of satellites in space is having a greater impact on astronomical observations, according to a study.

The journal “Nature‧Astronomy” published a paper on March 2, saying that when analyzing the observation images of the Hubble Space Telescope, it was found that artificial satellites interfered with the images, and as the number of artificial satellites continued to increase, this adverse effect became more and more serious. bigger.

The Hubble Telescope is a telescope launched by NASA in the 1990s to observe astronomical scenes in deep space. The Hubble Telescope is located at an altitude of 335 miles above the ground, but thousands of artificial satellites are more than 10 miles above the Hubble Telescope. They will often fly over the observation field of the Hubble Telescope, thus affecting the astronomical observation effect.

In this study, the Max Plank Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany analyzed tens of thousands of astronomical photos taken by the Hubble Telescope between 2002 and 2021, and found that they were affected by satellite flight trajectories. 3.7% of the number of images, and in 2021, this proportion will increase to 5.9%.

According to statistics from scientists, the rapid increase in the number of artificial satellites is related to Musk’s development of “Starlink”. As of February 2023, the number of artificial satellites launched due to the “Starlink” project is about 3,580. According to the news released by Musk’s “Starlink” project, the number of satellites will eventually reach 42,000.

Satellite trajectories are featured in Hubble’s images of deep space. (NASA/ESA/Kruk et al.)

If we consider the satellites of other countries and companies, the number of satellites above our earth will exceed 43,170. Scientists believe that in the next few years, if the number of artificial satellites reaches 10,000, the proportion of Hubble observation images affected by the trajectory of artificial satellites will reach 50%.

A NASA spokesperson told the New York Times: “We analyzed those observational images and found that the impact of satellite flight trajectories was increasing, but we dealt with the impact of these trajectories in accordance with the requirements of technical standards. Some of the captured images are still available for research.”

NASA scientists said the orbits of the satellites did not have a significant impact on Hubble’s data analysis and observational performance.

However, Mark J. McCaughrean, a scientist at the European Space Center who participated in the study, told the New York Times: “Whether Hubble observations will be invalid because of this, that is a matter of 10 to 20 years, but it is also a matter of time.” Not impossible, at that point people might say ‘don’t bother anymore'”. ◇#

Editor in charge: Sun Yun


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