Scientists Warn: How Technological Progress Can Actually Stop Astronomical Observations

Since the dawn of time, we humans have been curious about our nature and started to explore it as much as we can. At first, we thought that our planet and the solar system represent all that exists, then we discovered other solar systems, other galaxies, and now we are almost certain about the existence of even other universes.

But getting even further insights into our Universe requires some key factors. Next week, SpaceX will be launching thousands of new satellites into space, offering high-speed internet for more regions across the planet. While it sounds like a very useful measure, it does have a dark side and not one that should be ignored.

‘Satellite constellations’ will be affecting images of the night sky

In the present, there are about 2,200 satellites hurtling around the planet. The ‘Starlink constellation’ project belongs to SpaceX, and it implies sending lots of 60 satellites into orbit every several weeks. This means that by the year 2025, there could be a fleet of 12,000 new satellites.

As you might have already guessed, astronomers are worried that such a scenario can block our view of the Universe.

There is still hope

Not everyone shares the concern of not being able to view the Universe too well anymore. Prof Martin Barstow is one of the optimistic people in this case, and he explains why in a pretty logical manner:

The numbers of satellites do sound frightening, but actually space is big – so when you superimpose them all on the sky, the density of these things is not going to be very large,

And because the satellites have known positions, you can mitigate. A satellite is going to be a dot in an image and it might appear as a transient burst of light – but you will know about it and can remove it from the image.

Whatever the case may be, there still is plenty of time until the night sky will be loaded with satellites. And most of all, there’s no telling how technology will evolve until then.

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