A crowdfunded Russian satellite called Mayak is set to become the brightest light in our dark skies.
We are just two weeks away from having Mayak shining down on us brighter than any star beyond the sun in the sky. A crowdfunded Russian project is sending the shiny nightlight into outer space for no other reason is seems.
On Friday, July 14, the tiny satellite will be launched on board a Soyuz 2.1v from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The project is lead by Moscow State Mechanical Engineering University and was funded through the Russian crowdfunding website Boomstarter.
More than $30,000 were secured for the project through the website.
Mayak will be orbiting Earth at an altitude of 600 kilometers, and will unfold from its tiny elongated shape into a giant pyramid-shaped crystal.
Made of Mylar, it will span 16 square meters and is reportedly 20 times thinner than a human hair. The satellite will be used to test how to de-orbit satellites, whatever that means.
The magnitude of shine that we will see from Mayak has been calculated to about -3.6, making it the fourth brightest object visible to us after the Sun, Moon and Venus. Some even claim that it might be brighter than Venus.
While it sounds like a cool project, many astronomers are upset about it. When studying celestial objects, scientists look for dark patches in the sky. Anything bright and close will hinder them from looking deep into space.