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Comparing SpaceX's DarkSat to brighter Starlink siblings in g-band with DECam

Rawls, Meredith

I gave this presentation as part of the Observations Working Group session at the SATCON1 workshop. I presented results from Section 6 of Tyson et al. 2020. Five SpaceX Starlink satellites launched in January 2020 were observed by the Blanco 4-m telescope's Dark Energy Camera (DECam) in March 2020. One of these is DarkSat, which has an experimental darkening mitigation. The main result is that DarkSat is about 6th magnitude in g-band while its brighter siblings are about 5th magnitude. Vera C. Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will require low-earth-orbit satellites such as Starlink to be closer to 7th magnitude or fainter to mitigate the worst systematic errors likely to result from image artifact correction. For a detailed discussion, please see Tyson et al. 2020.

Satellite trail analysis tools are available at https://github.com/dirac-institute/starlink
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  • Tyson et al. 2020 (https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.12417)

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