SpaceX Starlink satellites have astronomers amplifying the cosmic alarm

CNET | 6/4/2019 | Eric Mack
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This image of a distant galaxy group from Arizona's Lowell Observatory is marred by diagonal lines from the trails of Starlink satellites shortly after their launch in May.

The world's largest organization of professional astronomers is sounding the galactic alarm over Elon Musk's plan to send a swarm of SpaceX satellites into low-Earth orbit.

Falcon - Rocket - Batch - Company - Starlink

Almost immediately after a Falcon 9 rocket released the first batch of the company's Starlink broadband internet satellites last month, stargazers were dismayed by just how bright and noticeable the train of orbiting routers is in the night sky. Now the concern has moved from chatter on social media to a more formal call for new government regulation from the International Astronomical Union.

In a statement Monday, the IAU said large satellite constellations like Starlink could have unforeseen consequences for advancing our understanding of the universe and the protection of nocturnal wildlife.

Impact - Thousands - Satellites - Night - Sky

"We do not yet understand the impact of thousands of these visible satellites scattered across the night sky and despite their good intentions, these satellite constellations may threaten both," the statement reads.

The IAU shared the above image, which shows bars of light from Starlink satellite trails in the field of view captured by Arizona's Lowell Observatory. The trails obscure the view of galaxy group NGC 5353/4.

SpaceX - Starlink - Night - Sky

Watch this: Are SpaceX Starlink satellites ruining the night sky?

"Although this image serves as an illustration of the impact of reflections from satellite constellations, please note that the density of these satellites is significantly higher in the days after launch," the organization explained.

SpaceX - Spokesperson - Email

A SpaceX spokesperson added via email that "the...
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