PHOENIX - At around 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 3, FOX 10 viewers began to call the newsroom, after seeing a string of lights in the night sky.
As it turns out, those lights may have come from a constellation of Starlink satellites from SpaceX.
On Dec. 2, a batch of Starlink satellites were launched from Florida. The company has launched over 30 batches of Starlink satellites, completing the first ‘shell’ of the constellation earlier this year.
The launch on Dec. 2 carried a total of 48 briefcase-sized satellites, bringing the total in orbit to around 1,700. Eventually, SpaceX envisions thousands of satellites providing internet access to even the most remote areas of the planet.
Astronomers express concerns over Starlink satellites
In a report in July, it is noted that Starlink satellites that the technology can provide much-needed internet access in rural areas, but it comes with a dilemma: the satellites are so bright and so numerous, astronomers worry about the future of the night sky.
For many astronomers, a photo taken by Victoria Girgis a few years ago that showed dots moving across the sky was a wakeup call that "satellite constellations" could be a problem.
Jeff Hall, director of Lowell Observatory, said "everyone was caught off guard at how bright the satellites were. Including SpaceX, they were a little taken aback, too, at just how bright they were."
Once the satellites reach their final orbit, they’re just at the edge of human vision, "but for a major research telescope that is blindingly bright, even a smallish research telescope," Hall said.
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