Neowise was at its most visible on Thursday night as it flew over the UK. The comet isn’t expected to be seen for another for another 6,800 years. However, SpaceX’s Starlink satellites have been taking up views of the night sky, with 540 of the machines in orbit.
Astrophotographer Daniel López shared a photo of Comet Neowise’s rare path around the world from Teide National Park on the Canary Islands on Wednesday.
But unfortunately, the picture was ruined by Elon Musk’s space tech company’s satellites.
The Starlink’s orbit around the Earth left streaks in Mr López’s picture of the comet.
It is the latest example of space pollution enraging observers.
In an email to space website Earther, Mr López reiterated concerns about space pollution from satellites.
He said: “Astronomers, astrophysicists, and astrophotographers are concerned about the great deployment of small satellites orbiting the earth.
“Now they want to launch some 40,000 later, other companies will want to launch their own into orbit, and the sky will not be what it has been for millions of years.
“Thousands of dots will appear and disappear in the night sky.”
López also warned that if no action is taken to curb space pollution, “it will be the end of astronomy as we know it”.
Dr Michele Bannister, a senior lecturer in astronomy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, shared Mr López’s concerns over the satellites impact on astronomers work.
In June, she said that the ruined night skies were an “urgent public issue” and called for global action.
She added: “The sky is just starting to become filled with these very optically bright satellites.
“When you look into the night sky, do you want to see nature? Or do you want to see artificial constructions? Because this is what it comes down to.”
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Mr Musk and members of his Starlink team previously gave a presentation to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine about the satellites blocking views of space from Earth.
In the presentation, Mr Musk confirmed that future Starlink satellites will be altered to reduce brightness.
He added: “With the benefit of hindsight, the changes seem quite simple.
“We’ll feel a bit silly in hindsight, as it’s not that hard.”
But the current issues with visibility of space from Earth aren’t expected to be fixed any time soon.
The satellites are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, and will take thousands of years to burn up in the atmosphere.
SpaceX also plans to have an astounding 12,000 Starlink satellites in orbit by 2027.
The satellites are planned to link up in a “constellation” and provide high-speed internet access all around the world.
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