#Rome; #Italy, #LegalAction; #Astronomers; #StarlinkSatellites, #StopLaunchOfSatellites; #HighSpeedInternet; #ImpactOnNightSky
Rome (Italy), Feb 5 (Canadian-Media): Legal action had been called by a group of astronomers to stop the launch of vast numbers of satellites designed to beam high-speed internet around the world until their impact on the night sky can be assessed, media reports said earlier this week.
240 satellites have already been launched by US firm SpaceX as part of its planned Starlink constellation of up to 42,000 satellites. Other companies like the UK company OneWeb, also plan to launch hundreds of their own. There are currently 1500 active satellites orbiting Earth.
SpaceX plans to launch 1500 Starlink satellites this year. Image credit: SpaceX/Flickr
Astronomical observations are being affected by bright streaks in some telescope images created by some Starlink satellites and had caused concern that the thousands of bright points of light could alter the sky for the public and astronomers forever.
Michele Maris at the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste in Italy, part of the group calling for legal action said that the best thing would be stop the deployment of these kind of satellites until they fully understand the their impact on the sky.
“It would be desirable to adopt contingent and limiting resolutions to be ratified as shared international rules,” the astronomers wrote and added that in the meantime all mega constellations should be put on hold.
An associated petition has more than 1400 signatures to temporarily halt further launches.
Although SpaceX has started testing a Starlink satellite coated in a darker material so that it won’t reflect as much light, there are ongoing launches, with SpaceX set to send up 1500 Starlink satellites in 2020.
“If it is not possible to leave a better planet for future generations, we can at least try not to make it worse,” said group member Stefano Gallozzi at the Astronomical Observatory of Rome in Italy.