We already know that the Tesla CEO has plans to build the futuristic StarLink network by hanging 12,000 satellites just above the earth’s atmosphere. The goal is to beam internet waves in almost every corner of the world.
The project sounds quite ambitious and many people have praised Elon Musk for his courageous efforts. Recently, SpaceX launched 60 out of the 12,000 satellites.
Now, the first glance at the StarLink satellite array flying over the Netherlands is quite jaw-dropping. But some astronomers have also highlighted its dark side. Actually, the bright side.
The view of those satellites has been captured by amateur astronomer Dr. Marco Langbroek —
No Night Sky?
These satellites are placed too close to the Earth at around 500 km distance from the equator. In comparison, the Geostationary satellites are placed in higher orbits 36,000 km away from the earth. The Earth’s atmosphere is roughly 480 kilometers thick.
Due to this closeness, the satellites are reflecting more light towards the earth. Astronomers have expressed concerns that this might ruin the night sky for us as we won’t be able to see the actual stars.
Also, it would cause hindrance for scientific works. For example, they might come in the way of scientific telescopes trying to unearth the secrets of the universe. With lots of radio signals traveling back and forth, it might cause problems for radio astronomy as well.
The satellites have been kept in a lower orbit because they eliminate the need for heavy communication dishes. This limits the weight to 500 pounds, which is roughly the weight of Harley Davidson Street 750.
Agreed, sent a note to Starlink team last week specifically regarding albedo reduction. We’ll get a better sense of value of this when satellites have raised orbits & arrays are tracking to sun.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2019
Elon Musk was quick to respond when the concerns fell upon his ears. He said he’s sent a note to the StarLink team who’ll work on moving the satellites further away from Earth and also reduce the reflection.
The StarLink project aims to provide internet connectivity to over 3 billion people. But, it isn’t just about regular internet, Musk even flaunted that StarLink is capable of handling “competitive twitch reflex games.” He agreed on the idea of having eSports sessions over StarLink.
True. I’m a gamer & my boys are too. Starlink is designed to be great even for competitive twitch reflex games.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 28, 2019
Source: Big Think