SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos of Amazon have plans to launch constellations of thousands of satellites so as to provide uninterrupted Internet access. However, the astronomer are not very happy about it as they are worried that the addition of more satellites to Earth’s orbit can ruin the sight of the night sky and affect many scientific research. The Astronomical Union International is the world’s largest organization filled with 13,000 astronomers that has also issued a letter complaining about the SpaceX’s batch of satellites’ launch plan by the end of May. Initially, even though only 60 satellites will be sent into the orbit there are plans of launching a network of satellites known as Starlink. Musk plans to launch nearly 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit by the next 6 Years.
Just like SpaceX, Amazon is also planning to work on Project Kuiper that will have 3,200 satellites launched in low Earth orbit over the next few years for better broadband Internet access across the world. The IAU argues that the clean night sky is essential not only for knowing the Universe but also as a resource for humanity and safety of nocturnal wildlife. The idea of visible satellites scattered across the night sky is a threat despite their good intentions.
According to Dutch scientist Marco Langbroek, the Starlink satellites clustered in the low Earth orbit would eventually drift into the higher orbit. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had also posted that the Starlink satellites are brighter than expected. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it is aware of the research communities concerns and will carefully analyze the potential impacts on infrared and optical astronomy. The Union of Concerned Scientists data has shown that there are 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth from which 1,300 satellites are in low Earth orbit.