So, this morning (5am local time) I went out to do some astrophotography, basically testing for myself how visible the Starlink satellites are in the sky to *anyone*, not just professional astronomers. After two hours I had seen too many to count, and many were naked eye bright.
At times short trains of half a dozen or so were visible in the sky. This was around 05.30, two and a half hours before local sunrise. And this was from a light-polluted park in the middle of a light-polluted town, in South Cumbria, England.
I took lots of photos with a very basic DSLR camera just on a tripod, no tracking, all of them long-exposures to record the Starlink satellites as trails. I wasn't sure how they'd turn out. But the photos show the satellites ARE naked eye bright and visible long before sunrise.
Here's one of them - a single, 30s exposure showing multiple Starlink trails... note: these were not visible to the naked eye.
Here's another image, again a single 30s exposure, showing more Starlink satellites. These were clearly visible to the naked eye.
Another image, this time a shorter exposure of just a few seconds, showing eight individual Starlink trails...
This one is a composite of several different photos (hence the star trailing), each of 30s exposure, showing multiple Starlink trails ...
I went back inside to thaw out for a while, and went back outside again after half an hour or so, at around 6am. The sky was brighter, but Starlinks were still crossing the sky. Note: despite the brightness of the sky the sateliites were still naked eye visible...
Eventually the sky became so bright the satellites were not visible to the naked eye but the camera still picked them up using long exposures... (I have shown the constellation lines of Leo for clarity)
Not going to argue right or wrong here, but my conclusions: 1) the appearance of the night sky has *changed*, fundamentally, 2) it will be harder for *everyone* to take photographs of it, not just professional astronomers and 3) this is going to get worse. Much worse. :-(
And note also this is not an attack on SpaceX, so any SpaceXers thinking of having a go at me, save your breath. I took these photos as an amateur astronomer, to see for myself what's going on "up there" now. People are free to draw their own conclusions, but this is the reality.
For reference: screenshot of Heavens Above app showing Starlink's presence in the sky this morning. Time given on image... (White = visible, in sunlight, blue = queued up waiting to join them)
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