Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink satellites have enamored sky watchers, but at the same time it has also triggered concerns among the astronomers as to what the visibility of these 60 satellites could do to satellite observing. The CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk tweeted on May 27 saying that he has already asked his teams to make the future satellites of internet communications of Starlink less shiny so as to lower their reflectivity. Musk wrote that he had asked his team of Starlink last week regarding the albedo reduction. He added that they would get a better picture of this only after the satellites would raise their orbits and arrays would track the sun.
SpaceX had launched the satellites of Starlink on May 23 into initial orbit of around 440 kilometers above the Earth. Each of the satellite consist of ion thrusters made of Krypton for raising its orbit to 550 km. Alex Parker, the planetary astronomer had tweeted on May 25 that he knows that people are very excited about the images of Starlink satellites of SpaceX, but it gives him a pause as the videos of the train of the satellites were coming up. He said that the satellites are bright and there would be many of them.
The satellites of Starlink are at the frontline of a mega-constellation of 12,000 satellites that has been designed for offering affordable services of internet all across the world. Parker also added that these 12,000 satellites that are bright could outnumber stars that are visible to the naked eye in night sky. But Parker was holding the final verdict until the satellites of Starlink reached the final orbit as they would be less visible at that moment.
Musk has assured the astronomers and public that the constellation of Starlink would not create a problem for astronomy. Musk said the helping billions of people who are economically disadvantaged are the greater good. He added that he would make sure that Starlink has no effect on the discoveries in the field of astronomy.