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Satellite mega-constellations risk ruining astronomy forever

A big problem: The growing number of satellites streaming through low Earth orbit is making it almost impossible to get a clear view of the sky. The true threat these mega-constellations pose to the astronomy community is only just beginning to be understood.

A trickle becomes a flood: When the first SpaceX Starlink satellites launched last year, astronomers knew the train of bright lights would end up as long white streaks on the images collected by their telescopes, blotting out the actual stars and celestial objects they were trying to observe. Hundreds of satellites have launched since, and their numbers are set to swell to the tens of thousands in the coming years.

Is there any solution? One way would be to reduce the brightness of these satellites by a factor of 100. Another is to make the satellites less reflective. But ultimately, any changes will require international cooperation—and for satellite operators to agree to them. Read the full story

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