Hubble Space Telescope images are being spoiled by satellite trails


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Satellite trails crossing an image of galaxy ARP248, captured by Hubble

Satellite trails crossing an image of galaxy ARP248, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope

NASA, ESA, Kruk et al.

Trails of light from satellites appeared on twice as many photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2021 compared to 2002. Although the unwanted light streaks haven’t yet interfered with Hubble’s scientific operations, they may do so in future – particularly as the number of communications satellites launched is rising.

Hubble orbits Earth at an altitude of around 535 kilometres, which is below many orbiting satellites. When taking long exposure shots, where its light-sensitive aperture is open …

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