Experts Worried That Newly Launched Satellite Could Be Brighter Than Any Star

A newly launched SpaceX satellite named Blue Walker 3 is likely going to be visibly brighter than any star in the sky.

By Matthew Creith | Published

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As the 21st Century space race between billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, as well as the United States government’s NASA program, continues to be underway, it appears that more and more man-made objects are finding their place above Earth’s orbit. Generally speaking, most of these objects tend to be satellites, often being sent up to space for varying purposes. Now, it seems that one particular satellite that was recently launched could be brighter than most of the stars in the night sky.

According to a report by The Byte, the recent launch of a satellite aboard a SpaceX rocket over the weekend can be seen by anyone on Earth, and many believe it will be brighter than any object in the sky except for the Moon. The satellite in question is apparently humongous and weighs over 3,300 pounds. It was built by Texas-based AST SpaceMobile as an experimental cellular service device before it was launched into space with the aid of SpaceX, one of Elon Musk‘s high-profile corporations.

The satellite seen on the grounds of planet Earth has been named BlueWalker 3, and is apparently the biggest commercial antenna array ever launched into space. Scientists are currently concerned by the impact of such a large satellite hovering over the planet, due in large part because of how bright it seems to anyone looking up from the ground. The light pollution in the night sky caused by the enormous satellite may end up being brighter than Venus, the second planet from the sun and is currently the brightest planet at night from Earth’s perspective.

But the problems don’t stop there when it comes to the BlueWalker 3 satellite. Scientists are predicting that there might be a chance that the satellite disrupts the frequency of radio astronomy equipment currently in orbit, mostly because BlueWalker 3 sends data from space back to Earth via smartphone technology. The main problem affecting the night sky with this recent launch is the fact that BlueWalker 3 is just one of many satellites planned to fly high in the sky in future waves.

Currently, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Tim Cook’s Apple are expected to add their own satellites into the mix, crowding already increasingly busy airspace. AST SpaceMobile is also going to be launching a little more than 100 satellites into orbit, with the company calling the prospective devices BlueBirds. Unfortunately, BlueBirds are expected to be about twice the size of BlueWalker 3, so many people can expect to see brighter objects in the sky in the not-so-distant future.

The crux of the situation surrounding this most recent version of the space race is that there is no possible way to make satellites appear transparent. Light reflects off of them so brightly that it becomes easily detectable by anyone looking up at the stars to see them. Astronomers will most likely be very busy in the coming years as they attempt to single out those objects in the night sky that are satellites versus other planets and bright stars.