Satellite megaconstellations could have 'extreme' impact on astronomy, report finds

Jul 10, 2020
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I feel companies putting these "constellations" up should have to pay for any mitigation astronomers must do to compensate for problems caused by the satellites.

What's next, ads on the surface of the Moon?
 
Oct 21, 2019
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I feel companies putting these "constellations" up should have to pay for any mitigation astronomers must do to compensate for problems caused by the satellites.

What's next, ads on the surface of the Moon?
Arthur C.Clarke's 1956 short story "Watch this Space" tells how a scientific experiment conducted on the Moon - creating a giant sodium cloud that is made luminescent by the Sun's rays and visible from Earth - is sabotaged by "the greatest advertising coup" in history (strongly implied to be by Coca-Cola) ;) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venture_to_the_Moon
 
Aug 26, 2020
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Huge constellations of internet satellites could fundamentally change how astronomers study the night sky and how the rest of us experience it, a new report finds.

Satellite megaconstellations could have 'extreme' impact on astronomy, report finds : Read more
Really, read the article again. It says there are about 10k
satellites in LEO, Even in LEO any satellite is hard to find
and is more than 100k away . They are all in very predictable
orbits. They are tracked by NASA and we know where they
all are.

Now think about aircraft. At any time there are 10s of
thousands of them. They are tracked but much more
randem than Satellites. They all fly under 10k altitude so
they appear much larger. The astronomiers work through
them so the satellites should be trivial.

I think they whine too much.
 
Aug 27, 2020
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By chance, I may be able to open this debate up from past experience. During 1986, the European Space Agency announced a competition to celebrate the centenary of the design and construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris France. With the help of Alan Jefferson, at the time senior lecturer in the Aero & Astro dept university of Southampton; we presented the concept of a Space Chronometer, an orbiting hour, minute and second hand giving Greenwich Mean Time to the entire planet. At the time of the result we received an honour's exceptional, (and dare I say, were both credited with the same technological foresight as Gustav Eiffel a century before. Soon afterwards, I helped out the Eiffel Tower at an major Aerospace conference in Brighton, who were presenting the competition results. Particularly there were people of the highest level attending, and I had the interesting experience of having the Secretary general for the European Space Agency stand in front of me to announce; "This project shall not fly . . . it harm's science". Our proposal, The Space Chronometer, was later published in Leonardo. Again, not long after that conference there was very wide publicity in the likes of New Scientist, denouncing the whole idea of anything orbiting the planet that would detract from humanities view of the surrounding universe. I have to say I am amazed that the astronomical science community has remained so silent about this ongoing deployment.

Now, by pure chance, being the inventor of the camera phone with GPS, I have had some experience of dealing with the United States Federal Communications Commission, FCC, and I am not at all surprised that they have taken it upon themselves to set about the destruction of our view. Again, we must also assume that these satellites will be transmitting 5G which many, including me; believe such transmissions to be presenting an existential threat to the health of humanity. And when that existential threat becomes a reality; and the health of humanity becomes deeply affected by the transmissions; how are we going to bring a stop to their mission? Food for thought?
 
I feel companies putting these "constellations" up should have to pay for any mitigation astronomers must do to compensate for problems caused by the satellites.
They are paying both taxes and - in the case of the manufacturer that cooperates - research as well as technical mitigation.

What more would you expect? Telecom companies in general do not pay astronomers directly for the trouble they cause radio astronomy. Instead these things are regulated.

We should also remember that those who *will* pay for these services are mostly the poorest billion that live with little if any infrastructure. Mobile phones have observably been reducing risk (say, fish fleet communication), kick starting economy (ibid) and contributes to education.

The Man That Polluted Space.
What "man", these are companies!? Though if the UK government (bought OneWeb) or Amazon (plane to launch Kuiper) doesn't start to cooperate, we can start pointing fingers. And unfortunately their orbits are planned to be in the most sensitive orbits. Yikes!

we must also assume that these satellites will be transmitting 5G which many, including me; believe such transmissions to be presenting an existential threat to the health of humanity.
Despite that the science say there is no such threat, and despite that you align with the UK conspiracy theory terrorists that sabotage important infrastructure - an "airy" debate can be had, but these problematic things must be pointed out first!? Also, how would satellites transmitting different protocols differ in EM characteristics?

We who go to this site for the science do not have to "assume" or "believe" anything. Such arguments go to the round bin (but can be remarked on if they are morally doubtful as here).
 
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Jul 28, 2020
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I feel companies putting these "constellations" up should have to pay for any mitigation astronomers must do to compensate for problems caused by the satellites.

What's next, ads on the surface of the Moon?
I appreciate science and astronomy, but I feel your opinion is somewhat one sided. The satellites creating this problem are for the Starlink constellation which will be bring broadband to communities worldwide. Their orbits are well known and can be compensated for.

In the USA alone there are 19 million people who still do not have access to broadband. How is it that astronomers having clear and unobstructed views of the sky so much more important than the rest of the world having access to broadband? Broadband is used for everything today. Education and learning, shopping, news, … Astronomy makes great scientific discoveries but, does that really mean astronomer’s needs come before everybody else’s?

Maybe if the astronomers fighting Starlink get their way, they should have to pay for terrestrial broadband solutions to be extended to every corner of the earth?

What’s next, to lessen the light pollution we’ll have black outs in all cities so astronomers don’t have to leave their back yards to look at the sky.
 
Aug 27, 2020
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They are paying both taxes and - in the case of the manufacturer that cooperates - research as well as technical mitigation.

What more would you expect? Telecom companies in general do not pay astronomers directly for the trouble they cause radio astronomy. Instead these things are regulated.

We should also remember that those who *will* pay for these services are mostly the poorest billion that live with little if any infrastructure. Mobile phones have observably been reducing risk (say, fish fleet communication), kick starting economy (ibid) and contributes to education.



What "man", these are companies!? Though if the UK government (bought OneWeb) or Amazon (plane to launch Kuiper) doesn't start to cooperate, we can start pointing fingers. And unfortunately their orbits are planned to be in the most sensitive orbits. Yikes!



Despite that the science say there is no such threat, and despite that you align with the UK conspiracy theory terrorists that sabotage important infrastructure - an "airy" debate can be had, but these problematic things must be pointed out first!? Also, how would satellites transmitting different protocols differ in EM characteristics?

We who go to this site for the science do not have to "assume" or "believe" anything. Such arguments go to the round bin (but can be remarked on if they are morally doubtful as here).
Who paid for the science that you so eloquently quote?
 
Aug 26, 2020
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Do you have any idea of how many aircraft are in the sky at
any time. Many more than satellites.
Aircrafts to not follow a well known paths.
Aircraft are much larger and more than 10 times closer
so appear much larger.
Aircraft leave there crazy com trails.
So when was the last time you heard these people complain about aircraft.
Yes its a problem but minuscule compared to Aircraft.
So clean up the biggest problem first.
 
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Jul 28, 2020
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10
Really, read the article again. It says there are about 10k
satellites in LEO, Even in LEO any satellite is hard to find
and is more than 100k away . They are all in very predictable
orbits. They are tracked by NASA and we know where they
all are.

Now think about aircraft. At any time there are 10s of
thousands of them. They are tracked but much more
randem than Satellites. They all fly under 10k altitude so
they appear much larger. The astronomiers work through
them so the satellites should be trivial.

I think they whine too much.
Yes, they whine too much.
If all the astronomers lived on the moon, they would probably complain that the earth blocks their view of the sky. All earthlings would own them money to remove the earth from their pictures.
 
Apr 18, 2020
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Really, read the article again. It says there are about 10k
satellites in LEO, Even in LEO any satellite is hard to find
and is more than 100k away . They are all in very predictable
orbits. They are tracked by NASA and we know where they
all are.

Now think about aircraft. At any time there are 10s of
thousands of them. They are tracked but much more
randem than Satellites. They all fly under 10k altitude so
they appear much larger. The astronomiers work through
them so the satellites should be trivial.

I think they whine too much.
You shouldn't tell people to read carefully when you don't do it yourself. 10k satellites is the total launched in history until now. About 2500 are currently in orbit, and so the number in LEO is less than that.

The point about aircraft is a fair one. I'd like to hear from someone knowledgeable, as to how the satellite problem differs.
 
Aug 5, 2020
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I appreciate science and astronomy, but I feel your opinion is somewhat one sided. The satellites creating this problem are for the Starlink constellation which will be bring broadband to communities worldwide. Their orbits are well known and can be compensated for.

In the USA alone there are 19 million people who still do not have access to broadband. How is it that astronomers having clear and unobstructed views of the sky so much more important than the rest of the world having access to broadband? Broadband is used for everything today. Education and learning, shopping, news, … Astronomy makes great scientific discoveries but, does that really mean astronomer’s needs come before everybody else’s?

Maybe if the astronomers fighting Starlink get their way, they should have to pay for terrestrial broadband solutions to be extended to every corner of the earth?

What’s next, to lessen the light pollution we’ll have black outs in all cities so astronomers don’t have to leave their back yards to look at the sky.
Your comment seems to ignore a few realities. Space X for one acknowledge there is a problem. They have modified those satellites they are launching to attempt to reduce the amount of interference they cause. Starlink will not be the only constellation however. Will the others take similar actions? There is no requirement in law to do so.

Nor is this an either or situation. To present it that way is incorrect and frankly misleading.
 
Aug 25, 2020
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Personally, I have a bigger issue with ambient light pollution through ridiculous urban lighting schemes. As far as large constellations, they are enabled by having dramatically lowered the cost to place payload in orbit. That lowering of cost will also enable heretofore unaffordable space based telescopes and other instruments that will blow away ground based abilities. We will be able to form giant space based interferometers, telescopes on the dark side of the moon, etc. Ground based observatories have done another adaptations over the years including adjusting for atmospheric distortion by using lasers. I have no doubt they can adapt (especially with AI deep learning tools) with these large constellations. But as I said we have only scratched the surface in terms of advancing space based observation, which should improve by leaps in bounds with the order of magnitude drop in costs from these new payload delivery options (e.g. Starship).
 
Oct 21, 2019
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We will be able to form giant space based interferometers, telescopes on the dark side of the moon, etc.

Just to point out that in spite of the classic Pink Floyd album of that name there is no "dark side" of the Moon ;). The "far side" (to use the correct terminology) gets as much sunlight during the course of a lunar month as the side we see from Earth. Agree that it is a good location for telescopes, especially radio telescopes as all the interference from Earth based radio transmissions is blocked by the Moon. :)
 
Jul 10, 2020
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Even in LEO any satellite is hard to find
and is more than 100k away .

A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an Earth-centred orbit with an altitude of 2,000 km (1,200 mi) or less (Wiki)

They're talking about adding thousands more satellites. I don't think they're "whining" too much.
 
Jan 31, 2020
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This is the best application for "Black 2.0" that I can think of. :). Perhaps Space-X should sponser the construction of an absolutely gigantic aperture orbiting optical telescope to be used for both science and photography of whatever is most beautiful up there. That should apease many complainers and why stop there? Put up a large number of more modest scopes and EVERYONE could call up some telescope time and look at whatever they desire. Then there's the idea of a live data feed of precise locations all satellites so telescopes on the ground can do "active masking" There are lots great ways to make the best of this. Space-X/StarLink together are our friend. Let them build our future.
 

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