5-speed listening (Satellites - Level 5)

Satellites may obscure our views of the stars






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Astronomers are worried that our view of the sky is becoming more obscured. Their warning is because of thousands of satellites being launched into orbit in 2020. These will provide high-speed Internet across the world from space. The scientists say space will be so littered with satellites they will compete with the stars for our attention. The satellites will form "mega-constellations" that could get in the way of radio astronomy and affect the quality of images from telescopes. The astronomers said the satellites will appear as dazzling white streaks of light. These could be mistaken for stars.

Experts say there are plans to launch over 46,000 satellites into space in the next few years. This is five times more than the number of objects in space since the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, six decades ago. The new satellites will provide much faster Internet speeds and greater connectivity to even the remotest areas of the world. Today, about 14 million Americans live in rural areas with zero Internet coverage. SpaceX will launch 120 satellites in January and a further 12,000 in the next decade. Astrophysicist Dr Dave Clements called the initiative a "tragedy".

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