This story will be about the new Starlink satellites and the question: will they change our night sky in a way that ordinary people will notice?
Elon Musk plans to use many small satellites in a low orbit to bring internet broadband access to rural parts of the globe.
On May 23, 2019, a Falcon 9 rocket released 60 of the SpaceX Starlink satellites into low earth orbit.
However, soon after launch, there were reports the satellites were bright in the sky and could be seen when looking at the stars. The International Astronomical Union stated there may be unforseen consequences with the satellites, such as making it more difficult to study the universe and potentially affecting nocturnal wildlife. The IAU called for increased government regulation. (Space.com)
SpaceX has already been permitted to launch many more of the satellites, and deploying all of the ones they have permission for would triple the amount of satellites in Earth Orbit. (New York Times)
The satellites have solar arrays which produce energy for the satellites but can bounce light at Earth. SpaceX claims the satellites will be less visible once they’re higher in orbit and are able to orient their solar arrays so they face the sun. Each satellite will fall back to Earth after about 5 years. (CNET)