JUL 01, 2019 5:21 PM PDT

Is SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Internet System Bad for Astronomy?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about the Starlink internet satellites that SpaceX recently sent to outer space. SpaceX plans to launch around 12,000 of these satellites into space as a constellation to provide broadband internet to the entire globe, and while that sounds good at first, astronomers see it very differently.

Shortly after being deployed into orbit around the Earth, the initial batch of Starlink satellites appeared very bright in astronomers’ telescopes, and they moved across the night sky in what seemed like an endless trail of small, bright lights. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this intrusion interfered with the astronomers’ ability to view the cosmos via the night sky.

The first batch only involved 60 satellites, and with 12,000 or more planned for the future, this introduces a genuine issue that must be considered: the possibility that all these internet satellites could permanently infringe with astronomical observations, including planets, space rocks, and more.

With satellite glare being one of the most pressing matters, SpaceX will be working with experts in the field to reduce the satellites’ brightness in the night sky, which should help reduce the amount of visual interference that they throw back at the Earth. On the other hand, it’s too early to tell whether this will mitigate or resolve the struggle we now face.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
How much radiation do super flares emit?
OCT 08, 2020
How much radiation do super flares emit?
Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published in Astrophysical Journal contemplates the amount ...
NOV 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Some Stars Take Longer to Cool than Others?
NOV 26, 2020
Why Do Some Stars Take Longer to Cool than Others?
At the end of their life cycle, stars like our sun become 'white dwarfs'. Cooling over billions of years from th ...
JAN 04, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
JAN 04, 2021
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
Researchers have found that there were likely many intelligent alien civilizations sprawled across our galaxy billions o ...
MAR 17, 2021
Microbiology
Novel Bacteria Discovered on Space Station
MAR 17, 2021
Novel Bacteria Discovered on Space Station
Scientists have known that wherever humans go, we carry microorganisms with us, and the International Space Station is n ...
APR 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Stardust That Made Us & Our Planet
APR 08, 2021
The Stardust That Made Us & Our Planet
You may know that the human body is made up of elements that almost all originated in stars, and many of those elements ...
Loading Comments...