Not even the successive cancellations, postponements and closures due to COVID-19 dictate a temporary pause in the launch of more SpaceX satellites. The company will send another shipment of 60 pieces of equipment to the Starlink constellation next March 14. The astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have already alerted Elon Musk to the consequences of the project and, although he claims that there will be no impact on astronomy, the CEO ended up scheduling a meeting with the researchers.
The recently published ESO study reveals that the constellations of satellites like Starlink could interfere with terrestrial telescopes during dawn and dusk, when the equipment is still reflecting sunlight.
The issue is even more problematic in the case of telescopes such as the North American Vera C. Rubin Observatory, which monitor more extensive celestial areas. The study shows that between 30% and 50% of the images captured may be severely affected by satellite constellations.
In an interview with the Business Insider website, Andrew Williams, one of ESO's researchers, indicates that the fact that SpaceX scheduled a meeting after the study was published, could be a sign that the company is committed to finding a solution that is mutually beneficial.
Remember that SpaceX plans to send 42,000 devices to Earth's orbit, aiming to create a high-speed internet network that is cheap and accessible to everyone on the planet. Nevertheless, the scientific community began to express its concern about the inconveniences that the constellation Starlink may cause soon after the launch of the first satellites.
Despite ambitious plans and pleasing especially for those who live in regions of the globe that do not yet have Internet coverage, the constellation can have negative effects on the readings of high-precision instruments such as the Extremely Large Telescope and radio interference.