More and more satellites roar across the night sky. This is not only unaesthetic for romantics, but also problematic for research.
Astronomers have expressed concern about the rapid increase in the number of artificial satellites in the night sky. The satellites would have a significant impact on the perception of the starry sky and the exploration of the universe, warned the Astronomical Society, the Association of Star Friends and the Society of German-speaking Planetariums on Monday. International agreements are necessary to protect the night sky as a human cultural asset and research object.
According to the information, astronomical research institutions, observatories and planetariums have received a large number of inquiries, some of which were concerned, in recent months. The background is said to have been brought into orbit en masse by the private US space company Space X since May 2019 Starlink satellitesmoving across the sky in groups.
With Starlink, Space X wants to provide a satellite-based infrastructure for high-speed Internet connections worldwide. For this purpose, more than 30,000 satellites are planned for the final expansion of the constellation, which by far exceeds the number of all satellites in earth orbit so far, the astronomical organizations pointed out. Other companies were planning some similar projects.
A clear view will soon no longer be possible
“Astronomy is aware of the importance of internet connections in remote regions of the world and of other technological developments,” the statement said. For astronomers, however, the protection of the starry sky as a unique cultural heritage of mankind is a central concern.
The experience of this “natural wonder” is already severely impaired in large parts of the world by excessive artificial lighting – astronomers call this phenomenon light pollution. In view of the massive increase in satellites, a clear view of the starry sky will no longer be possible, even in regions of the earth that have so far been largely undisturbed by light pollution.
Exploration is compromised
With tens of thousands of additional objects in orbit, it is a realistic scenario that several thousand satellites in the night sky obstruct star observation. “ The ir number then exceeds that of the stars visible to the naked eye,” declared the organizations. This will “change forever” the night sky, the sight of which has fascinated and inspired mankind from the beginning.
The large number of satellites also significantly affects the exploration of the universe. Sky recordings in amateur astronomy would be disrupted as well as professional astronomical observations with modern telescopes, including in the infrared and radio wave range. In addition, the massive increase in the number of artificial satellites poses a risk for space travel, because the risk of collisions inevitably increases.
Also read: “Heaven belongs to mankind”