Low earth-orbiting satellites may mislead animals responding to celestial cues

Top 15 Conservation Issues of 2021



There are currently 2,600 artificial satellites orbiting the earth and that number is rapidly growing. These satellites are called low-earth orbiting satellites as they orbit around 1,000 km above the earth. Traditional satellites orbit around 35,000 km. Low-earth orbiting satellites are being launched almost daily with the goal of increasing bandwidth and low communication latency which decreases the time delay for data to be passed from one point to another. Scientists are worried about animals that rely on celestial cues for navigation and movement during migrations. Animals that navigate using the stars rely on what is called the centre of rotation which helps them identify star configurations that are associated with the pole star. Satellites that reflect sunlight back to the earth can cause confusion and disorientation.