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The Night Sky Will Never Be the Same

Satellites could pose a threat to the visibility of the night sky, and managing the competing interests of science and commerce has been a source of recent controversy. The use of outer space has never been tested as it has in recent months, and historically passing satellites have rarely caused issues for astronomers. However, astronomers have been sharing images of their telescopes being obstructed by white streaks cutting across the darkness. These white streaks are Starlink Satellites.

Last spring, SpaceX launched dozens of small satellites into orbit for Starlink, a floating scaffold that Elon Musk hopes to develop and provide high-speed internet to every part of the world. Musk is the founder of Starlink, and the company has received a negative reaction from astronomers, some of whom are calling for legal action to protect the skies. The satellites have proven to be more reflective than their developers once suspected, and the 240 satellites are brighter than 99 percent of the existing objects orbiting Earth right now. If Musk and Starlink achieve their end goal, astronomy might never be the same.

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