SWARMS of satellites could one day outshine star constellations and ruin the night sky for stargazers, according to a concerned expert.
Companies like SpaceX and Amazon have been busy launching hundreds of satellites into orbit since 2019.
One day, lots of those satellites will be visible in the night sky, sometimes for the whole evening.
A new simulation of where the thousands of future satellites could appear in the night sky is concerning astronomers.
Astronomer Samantha Lawler from the University of Regina in Canada has been working on the project with her team.
Their online research paper states: “Megaconstellations of thousands to tens of thousands of artificial satellites (satcons) are rapidly being developed and launched.
“These satcons will have negative consequences for observational astronomy research, and are poised to drastically interfere with naked-eye stargazing worldwide should mitigation efforts be unsuccessful.
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“Here we provide predictions for the optical brightnesses and on-sky distributions of several satcons, including Starlink, OneWeb, Kuiper, and StarNet/GW, for a total of 65,000 satellites on their filed or predicted orbits.”
After simulating how disruptive the satellites could be for the night sky, the conclusion wasn’t good news for stagazers.
The researchers concluded: “Without drastic reduction of the reflectivities, or significantly fewer total satellites in orbit, satcons will significantly change the night sky worldwide.”
Factors like time of year, day and how reflective the satellites would be at any one time were taken into account.
It should be noted that some of the factors required a level of the materials used to create all the satellites aren’t confirmed and some materials reflect more sunlight that others.
SpaceX has worked on reducing how reflective its satellites are after previous astronomy concerns were raised.
Lower Canada, lots of Europe, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and the southern tips of Chile and Argentina were listed as places where naked eye stargazing would be most affected.
According to Science News, Lawler said: “I hope I’m wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong about a simulation more than this.
“But without mitigation, this is what the sky will look like in a few years.”
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