Astronomers have long complained about the effects of reflective effects from satellite solar panels on astronomical observations, such as the star system of the 1990s. But with only a few dozen stars, SpaceX’s planned Starlinks constellation consists of thousands or even tens of thousands of satellites, and the emission of these satellite solar cells is thought to be likely to hit future astronomical observations.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk responded last year that the company’s Internet satellites could potentially help billions of economically vulnerable people, a greater benefit. He said they were also concerned about science and would try to limit Starlinks’ impact on astronomical observations.
But at this week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society, the issue was thrown out again, with astronomers complaining that Starlinks, which was running in low orbits, was visible to the naked eye at night.
SpaceX has sent 180 Starlinks satellites into space before addressing the problem of light pollution, ignoring the questions raised by the astronomy community.