As NASA recently warned, the light pollution caused by the boom in satellites is indeed “wreaking havoc” on astrophotography. Photographer Daniel Lopez tried to shoot a telephoto timelapse of Comet NEOWISE this week but was thwarted by SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
On Tuesday, Lopez went out at night with a 200mm lens and the Canon Ra astrophotography mirrorless camera to shoot a series of 30-second exposure photos of Comet NEOWISE in hopes to creating a stacked photo with more detail.
Unfortunately for Lopez, a series of Starlink satellites kept crossing the frame. Almost 20 of his long-exposure photos showed trails from the satellites, and Lopez used 17 of them to create the stacked photo above to show just how many trails he had in his series of shots.
Here’s a time-lapse video created using the photos:
“You can see clearly as in almost 25 images of the 34 I used to make the video traces appear,” Lopez writes. “The field isn’t too big — 200mm with a full frame — but it happened to be passing right over the comet.”
Earlier this year, SpaceX unveiled a plan to keep its thousands of Starlink satellites from becoming a blight in the night sky. The company aims to reduce satellite brightness by adjusting solar panel angles and by giving new satellites sunshades.
If you’d like to avoid experiencing what Lopez did, you can look up when and where Starlink satellites might be zipping across the sky in your particular location.
Lopez is the same photographer who went viral a couple years ago by capturing a moon setting behind people 10 miles (16km) away using an ultra-telephoto lens. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.