Shortly after the launch, before full orientation of the solar panels and raising of the orbits, the Starlink satellites were surprisingly bright and easily seen with the naked eye.
Back then, I heard many say that, in order to evaluate their final impact on astronomy and the night sky, one had to wait for the satellites to reach their final orbits.

As most of them have reached their final height of 550 km by now, I ask myself how this turned out:

Did they become dimmer? By how much? Do they flare, and how long after sunset are the flares visible?


1 Answer 1


The only source I have found says the magnitude is around 6, which is pretty typical of a satellite of the size and distance from Earth. What I speculate happened was that the orientation of the solar panels right after launched caused a flare to be seen from the ground, which was quite a bit brighter than a typical satellite. It was even more noticeable as the satellites were very close to each other. It seems in their final orbit the damage is minimal.


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