Astronomers urged to fight 'tooth and nail' to protect dark skies

Mar 23, 2023
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I read that Starlink is already working with scientists to minimize the impact to observatories and space watchers of all kinds. The sattelites turn off their lights once the achieve their orbital position and SpaceX is currently implementing strategies to reduce glimmer or reflected light from the sun as well.


Read their section on: Minimizing the Impact on Astronomy

What we need less of is over-regulation by government which tends to get used as a political cudgel against those that do not tow the line. (of whomever is currently in power at the time)
If Starlink causes too much blockage or interference in astronomy, I as a current customer of theirs will be one of the first to vote with my feet and switch to a different service provider. I too live away from light pollution and enjoy the night sky that puts on quite the show for us gazers of space. :)
 
It's interesting that Starlink (352 miles), if just a little less in orbital distance, would have not bothered the HST (342 miles). I wonder if this got any consideration?
 
Mar 23, 2023
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I read that Starlink is already working with scientists to minimize the impact to observatories and space watchers of all kinds. The sattelites turn off their lights once the achieve their orbital position and SpaceX is currently implementing strategies to reduce glimmer or reflected light from the sun as well.


Read their section on: Minimizing the Impact on Astronomy

What we need less of is over-regulation by government which tends to get used as a political cudgel against those that do not tow the line. (of whomever is currently in power at the time)
If Starlink causes too much blockage or interference in astronomy, I as a current customer of theirs will be one of the first to vote with my feet and switch to a different service provider. I too live away from light pollution and enjoy the night sky that puts on quite the show for us gazers of space. :)
Yes, governments are political, that's the point. This is a political issue. Believing anything a company like this says until they do it when it comes to this stuff is naive and so is believing that it'll solve itself just by customers unsubscribing. Even if they improve satellites that have yet to go up or experience mass subscription loss, the armada of light polluting satellites are already there and need to be dealt with because a company trying to make money will not take it upon themselves.
 
Mar 23, 2023
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Yes, governments are political, that's the point. This is a political issue. Believing anything a company like this says until they do it when it comes to this stuff is naive and so is believing that it'll solve itself just by customers unsubscribing. Even if they improve satellites that have yet to go up or experience mass subscription loss, the armada of light polluting satellites are already there and need to be dealt with because a company trying to make money will not take it upon themselves.
Governments are also oppressive by nature. They should be kept at a minimum (in scope of power) since they are filled with people who do not always have our best interest in mind and are difficult to fire or vote out once they obtain too much power. It shouldn't be a political issue... Their politics are irrelevant to me and I thought it was a science and light pollution issue. I would say that if it is indeed a problem, (and they are not correcting the issue) then lawsuits would be the way to go. According to the sky I look at in my area... they (SpaceX) are turning off the lights. At first I was looking for the satellite lights to track. I didn't even think of the light pollution. It was an article from SpaceX that brought it to my attention. Some companies do care and are trying to do the right thing it would appear. P
 
Mar 23, 2023
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It's interesting that Starlink (352 miles), if just a little less in orbital distance, would have not bothered the HST (342 miles). I wonder if this got any consideration?
I don't know and it is just a guess... that it may be due to drag on the satellites and would be too difficult to maintain their orbit? again, I'm just guessing though. That is interesting though. Why is 342 miles not an issue?
 
Jul 30, 2020
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Does anyone think for a moment that other countries will abide by any restrictions we place on satellite companies? Let's cut off our feet so that others may win the race.
 
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Feb 16, 2023
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Images like the bother me because they were done with. politics agenda. Is this real first ? We have no info on the origins of this - tell us that ! Typically Star link satellites are hundreds of miles apart unless this was taken very close too when the a swarm was launched which is atypical. If the same images are that bright It appears that the star field had to be tracked (star are all points and would have trailed themselves otherwise ) which means the background strs would be faint to allow the satellite trails which are nearly all the same brightness - suspiciously so. Which means this image could represent hours of exposure - not a "snapshot" as the image/article suggest ! Also this was taken with equipment far beyond normal techniques. Again where's the info on the picture's data ? I agree this could become a problem BUT at least GIVE us the data on the genesis. this image. Otherwise is this a real image OR Another of these famous biased images. One of these first anti-satellite images used by everyone without any question had a background ( comet )impossible for the location identified in the image cause the object in the background was not even visible at that time for the given source.
 
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Feb 16, 2023
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Oh I forgot but a fairly good percentage of each Starlink swarm launch are replacements for satellite that have already other re-entered or ones intentionally de-orbited. This means that the total quote does not account for those being launched on each flight. I seem to remember that on one launch nearly 1/3 of the satellites were already replacement units. So the number in orbit at any one time can be misleadings as some re replacement units and not a total in orbit vs numbers launched. If a Starlink fails for some reason -SpaceX de-orbits those failed units. And don'r forget there are many more satellites in orbit that are NOT Starlinks.
 
Jun 17, 2023
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The issue of light pollution and its impact on astronomical observations has garnered significant attention recently. While some argue that companies like SpaceX are taking steps to minimize their interference with observatories, there is still a need for astronomers to actively engage in the fight to protect dark skies. This response will delve into the complexities of the issue, explore the potential of legal action, address the need for collaboration between government and industry, and emphasize the importance of comprehensive solutions.

Understanding the Complexities

It is essential to acknowledge the complexities surrounding the issue of light pollution. Satellite mega constellations, such as SpaceX's Starlink, present challenges for astronomers, as their bright reflections can interfere with astronomical observations. However, it is crucial to avoid simplistic narratives and recognize that companies like SpaceX are actively working to address these concerns. They have made efforts to minimize the impact on observatories, including turning off satellite lights once they achieve their orbital position and implementing strategies to reduce glimmer or reflected light.

Exploring Legal Actions

While legal action may seem like an option to hold companies and governments accountable, it is essential to approach this avenue cautiously. Lawsuits can be a double-edged sword, often entailing long legal battles and potentially stifling innovation. Instead of immediately resorting to lawsuits, it is crucial to foster dialogue and collaboration between astronomers, satellite companies, and government regulatory bodies to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Collaboration and Regulation

A balanced approach involves collaboration between stakeholders to establish effective regulations and guidelines. Governments have a role to play in enacting appropriate regulations to limit light pollution and establish criteria for satellite constellations. This includes setting an upper limit on the number of orbiting satellites and artificial light emissions and implementing measures such as satellite deorbiting. However, it is crucial to strike a balance between regulation and innovation, ensuring that scientific progress and technological advancements are not unduly hindered.

The Role of Astronomers and Public Engagement

Astronomers have a unique position to advocate for dark clear sky protection. By actively engaging with the public, policymakers, and industry leaders, astronomers can raise awareness about the importance of preserving the night sky. They can provide scientific expertise and evidence to inform policy decisions, ensuring that regulations are based on sound principles. Astronomers should collaborate with satellite companies, participating in ongoing discussions and sharing insights to minimise the impact on observational astronomy.

Conclusion

Preserving dark skies is a collective responsibility that requires a comprehensive and balanced approach. While legal action may have its place, it should be approached cautiously, with a focus on collaboration and dialogue. By fostering partnerships between astronomers, satellite companies, and government regulatory bodies, we can establish effective regulations that strike a balance between innovation and dark sky protection. Astronomers have a crucial role in engaging with the public and policymakers, raising awareness, and providing scientific expertise. Through these collective efforts, we can ensure that future generations can continue to marvel at the wonders of the universe under pristine, Dark Clear Skies.
 
Apr 20, 2023
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If we turn off the street lights, look at all the energy we will conserve and all the C0-2 from the fossil fuel needed to generate it. We need to stop putting all those thousands of internet satellites in orbit as they are playing Hob with telescope observations. On a dark night, watching the stars with the Naked Eye, you can see 'UFO's" sliding between the stars. That's got to leave a bunch of tracks on the telescope exposures.
 
Oct 20, 2023
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Images like the bother me because they were done with. politics agenda. Is this real first ? We have no info on the origins of this - tell us that ! Typically Star link satellites are hundreds of miles apart unless this was taken very close too when the a swarm was launched which is atypical. If the same images are that bright It appears that the star field had to be tracked (star are all points and would have trailed themselves otherwise ) which means the background strs would be faint to allow the satellite trails which are nearly all the same brightness - suspiciously so. Which means this image could represent hours of exposure - not a "snapshot" as the image/article suggest ! Also this was taken with equipment far beyond normal techniques. Again where's the info on the picture's data ? I agree this could become a problem BUT at least GIVE us the data on the genesis. this image. Otherwise is this a real image OR Another of these famous biased images. One of these first anti-satellite images used by everyone without any question had a background ( comet )impossible for the location identified in the image cause the object in the background was not even visible at that time for the given source.

Your fetish for the truth quite frankly bothers me. I think it's rather pointless to argue for truthiness when you lose sight of the bigger picture. I mean, you phrased it yourself as "I agree this could become a problem", when it actually IS a problem. Let me say the same thing: I agree that complete transparency of the media's sources is very important and can evolve into a bigger issue for journalism in general, but you are losing sight of the issue at hand.

It's like attending jury duty and instead of focusing on the defendant, you instead shift your focus on a single piece of evidence and question its validity (perhaps you've spotted some inconsistencies that don't align with your internal logic). Okay, I mean valid concern, but what about the defendant? Is he guilty or is he not guilty?
 
May 14, 2021
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Lights? Why are there exterior lights on spacecraft in the first place? I don’t remember lights on them in the past. It’s not like there are airplanes looking out to avoid them up there. They going so fast that the ISS and others would never see these lights in time.
 

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