Elon Musk says SpaceX ‘fixing’ brightness of its Starlink satellites

Starlink satellites have been visible above the UK all week (EPA)

For the last few nights it’s been possible to look up at the night sky and see a procession of satellites move across the heavens.

These are the Starlink satellites from SpaceX and they’ve been launched with the eventual goal of beaming down internet signal to the entire planet.

Eventually the American space company wants to put 12,000 into orbit to fully blanket the globe. However, concerns have been raised about their positioning in the sky and the subsequent effect on astronomy.

All this week many people across the UK and Europe have been able to see the satellites and now billionaire founder Elon Musk has said SpaceX is ‘fixing’ the brightness of the satellites.

Responding to a question about the brightness on Twitter, Musk said the reason they’re so visible is due to the angle of the solar panels and therefore the fact they’re reflecting the sun’s light back down at us.

Elon Musk says SpaceX is fixing the brightness (Reuters)

In regards to the brightness, he said ‘We’re fixing it now’.

There are currently 420 Starlink satellites in orbit as the most recent batch was sent into space yesterday from a launch in Florida.

As more are put into orbit they will be easier to spot which is probably why SpaceX is trying to tone down the brightness.

Each Starlink satellite is about the size of a car and is in a relatively low orbit around Earth. Larger satellites are put into a much higher orbit and are therefore harder to see.

An artist’s impression of the Starlink satellites (SpaceX)

At the moment Starlink satellites are in a parked orbit around Earth as SpaceX continues to add more to the constellation. Eventually, they will use on-board engines to move further away from the planet which will also make them less visible.

If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to see the Starlink satellites pass over again later this evening. They will be moving from west to south east and will be visible from 8.54pm tonight.



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