Astronomers Worried about Impact of Huge Satellite Network

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Aug. 21 (Jiji Press)--Astronomers in Japan and abroad are concerned that a massive network of communications satellites planned by a U.S. company would disturb astronomical observations.

Under its Starlink project to build the network of 12,000 satellites, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, launched the first 60 of the satellites in May. The satellites, placed in a low orbit around Earth, are designed to make Internet connection available all over the world.

Shortly after the launch, Starlink satellites crossed the observed area during a supernova observation at the Lowell Observatory in the United States. Captured images of the area show many white lines of light crossing diagonally.

Metal parts and solar panels for power generation mounted on satellites are highly reflective.

"The satellites can be seen with the naked eye. They are too bright for a telescope at an observatory and thus disturbing to observations," said Masatoshi Oishi, specially appointed professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press