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Sunday May 26, 2024

Astronomers sound alarm about light pollution from satellites

By AFP
March 21, 2023

PARIS: Astronomers on Monday warned that the light pollution created by the soaring number of satellites orbiting Earth poses an “unprecedented global threat to nature.”

The number of satellites in low Earth orbit have more than doubled since 2019, when US company SpaceX launched the first “mega-constellation,” which comprise thousands of satellites. An armada of new internet constellations are planned to launch soon, adding thousands more satellites to the already congested area fewer than 2,000-km above Earth.

Each new satellite increases the risk that it will smash into another object orbiting Earth, creating yet more debris. This can create a chain reaction in which cascading collisions create ever smaller fragments of debris, further adding to the cloud of “space junk” reflecting light back to Earth.