ELON Musk's Starlink satellites have come under scrutiny again after ruining a stargazer's photo of Comet Neowise.
What could have been a stunning image of the naked-eye comet was photobombed by the growing constellation of internet satellites.
There have already been concerns about Starlink satellites ruining the night sky for astronomers.
Musk's company SpaceX has been working to address this issue and is now sending up satellites that should be dimmer and less visible than earlier versions.
However, astrophotographer Daniel López experienced the negative impact of the satellites when he took the above photo on July 21.
He shared the image on the Facebook page of his photography company, El Cielo de Canarias, and said it was a shame the satellites had upstaged the comet.
Comet Neowise is the biggest comet to pass Earth in 25 years and won't be coming back again for another 7,000.
The image is a compilation of 17 photos taken over 30 seconds.
These long exposure shots were meant to capture the comet as it moved over several seconds but they also caught Starlink satellites streaking across the sky.
Astronomer Julien Girard shared the picture on Twitter and highlighted that this was only the impact of a few hundred satellites but thousands are set to be sent up to orbit.
Because López's image used time-lapses, it's not representative of what you would see with the human eye.
It's not good news for astronomers though as long-exposure photos help them observe distant objects in the night sky.
Earth telescopes are sometimes set to watch objects in the sky for hours so they can build a detailed image.
SpaceX shares Starlink's orbital-path data so astronomers can plan around the movement of the satellites.
Musk is hoping to send 42,000 Starlink satellites into orbit so they can provide cheap internet to the entire globe.
López told Gizmodo: "The sky will not be what it has been for millions of years. Thousands of dots will appear and disappear in the night sky.
"I personally think that if no action is taken, it will be the end of astronomy as we know it from the surface of the Earth."
Is Starlink 'blocking' the night sky?
The Starlink programme is controversial among astronomers, who have slammed Musk's hare-brained scheme.
They say Starlink gets in the way of observations due to light reflected off the the satellites.
University of Western Ontario meteor researcher Denis Vida stated in a blog post last year: "One has to be concerned how will our skies look like when hearing that there are plans to launch a total of 42,000 satellites.
"This might completely deny us to do any optical meteor observations as soon as 2024."
Never one to take something lying down, Musk previously lashed back at his critics, claiming the satellites have no such impact.
Speaking at a conference in Washington DC last month, he said: "I am confident that we will not cause any impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries. Zero. That’s my prediction.
"We’ll take corrective action if it’s above zero."
Since then, some corrective action has been taken.
What is SpaceX?
Here's what you need to know…
SpaceX was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk who still has part ownership of the company with 54 per cent equity and 78 per cent voting control.
SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer that is based in California.
It was founded in 2002 with the goal to build affordable rockets and enable the colonisation of Mars.
The manufacturer also aimed to reduce space transportation costs.
Since its creation, the firm has gained fame primarily as a pioneering rocket firm.
In 2008 it launched the first privately-funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit and later became the first private company to launch an object into orbit around the sun.
The company has grown dramatically over its lifespan, from 160 employees in November 2005 to around 7,000 as of November 2019.
As of March 2018, SpaceX had over 100 launches on its manifest representing about $12billion (£9.24billion) in contract revenue.
In other news, Nasa has revealed a plan to bring astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley back to Earth this week.
Elon Musk announced last month that SpaceX's mission to get man on Mars is now the company's "top priority".
And, Nasa has revealed the design of a moon lander that could be taking astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024.
What are your thoughts on Starlink? Let us know in the comments…
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