(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have shared a preliminary assessment of light pollution from human space activities.
According to scientists, constellations of satellites and pieces of space debris orbiting the Earth and reflecting sunlight could illuminate our night sky by more than 10 percent.
“We expected that the increase in sky brightness would be negligible, if at all, but our first theoretical estimates turned out to be extremely unexpected and thus prompted us to report our results immediately,” says Miroslav Kocifai, Senior Researcher at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and lead author of the study.
Unlike ground-based light pollution, this type of artificial light can be seen on most of the Earth’s surface, according to study co-author John Barentin.
“Astronomers are building observatories away from city lights to look for dark skies, but this form of light pollution has a much wider geographical reach,” he added.
The researchers argue that the problem will only get worse as more satellites rise into the sky. Numerous waste components, rocket debris and other space debris are other culprits for light pollution.
Last week, residents of the western United States could see firsthand how bright man-made objects can be. On March 4, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was launched into space to launch another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. And it seems that at the end of March, the rocket stage re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceX is trying to fix the brightness of its satellites. Last year, the company released a model with a special sun visor satellite.
“Our results suggest that many more people than just astronomers may lose access to the pristine night sky,” says Barentin.
Researchers will continue to study light pollution and later provide scientific evidence for their work.
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