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
AUG 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
AUG 16, 2020
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
Matt Caplan, a theoretical physicist at Illinois State University, has calculated when the last supernova will happen in ...
SEP 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
SEP 15, 2020
Carbon-rich Planets May Be Full of Diamonds
Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago have found that carbon-rich planets outside our ...
SEP 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
SEP 20, 2020
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
Scientists were stunned to discover possible signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus. Their initial findings were confi ...
OCT 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Observe a Supermassive Black Hole Surrounded by Galaxies
OCT 08, 2020
Astronomers Observe a Supermassive Black Hole Surrounded by Galaxies
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), an array of four individual telescopes in the ...
NOV 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Solar Power Stations in Space Could Answer Global Energy Needs
NOV 22, 2020
Solar Power Stations in Space Could Answer Global Energy Needs
W/hile renewable energy technologies have developed exponentially in recent years, a major barrier towards their adoptio ...
DEC 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Health Issues from Spaceflight Caused by Mitochondria
DEC 03, 2020
Health Issues from Spaceflight Caused by Mitochondria
Spending an extended time in space is known to impact various aspects of health, from muscle and bone regeneration to th ...
Loading Comments...