As SpaceX prepares for the launch of the latest batch of Starlink satellites, an astrophysicist warned about what the mega-constellation can do to the sky. Like other astronomers, the astrophysicist is worried about the effects of the Starlink project.

The latest batch of satellites is expected to launch tomorrow through SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. It will serve as the second batch of Starlink units that will be deployed into low-Earth orbit following the debut of the project in May.

According to Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the official launch of the Starlink satellites a couple of months ago already gave a glimpse of the light pollution the project will cause in the night sky.

Like other astronomers, McDowell became worried about the brightness of the satellites, which they said can be easily spotted from Earth even without using special equipment like telescopes and binoculars. They’re concerned that the satellites’ brightness would soon drown out the light from other natural cosmic objects such as stars.

“The bottom-line answer is, you can consistently see these things,” McDowell told

Originally, SpaceX wanted to deploy a total of 12,000 satellites for its Starlink project. However, documents filed by the company last month revealed that SpaceX now intends to 30,000 more satellites, bringing the total to 42,000.

With over 40,000 bright satellites flying in low-Earth orbit, McDowell warned that the Starlink units could become a constant presence in the night sky.

“When you're talking about 30,000 satellites, and many above the horizon at any one time, that's what's new about this," the astrophysicist said. "It's not going to be just the occasional interference, it's going to be continual."

Following the launch of the first batch of satellites in May, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk addressed the concerns of astronomers by informing the Starlink team to reduce the amount of light reflected by the units. McDowell is hoping that Musk that SpaceX was able to accomplish this.

“We can hope that that will improve things, but let's see, the proof is in the pudding, right?" he said. "All we can do right now is go on what they've actually put up there. And what they've actually put up there are really bright satellites that if you had many thousands of them would represent a serious change to the night sky."

A SpaceX Starlink satellite
A SpaceX Starlink satellite in orbit (illustration) SpaceX