Musk loves his Starlink sat constellation – but astroboffins are less than dazzled by them

www.theregister.co.uk | 6/5/2019 | Staff
Kezzerxx (Posted by) Level 3
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The International Astronomical Union has warned against the rise of satellite constellations in Earth's night sky, such as SpaceX's Starlink system, since their brightness and noise could hamper future scientific research.

“[We’re] concerned about these satellite constellations,” the union said in a statement this week. “The organisation, in general, embraces the principle of a dark and radio-quiet sky as not only essential to advancing our understanding of the universe of which we are a part, but also as a resource for all humanity and for the protection of nocturnal wildlife.

Impact - Thousands - Satellites - Night - Sky

“We do not yet understand the impact of thousands of these visible satellites scattered across the night sky and despite their good intentions, these satellite constellations may threaten both.”

A big problem with these satellites, designed to blanket cover the world with internet broadband connectivity, is their highly reflective surfaces. The 60-unit Starlink system, lofted into orbit last month, look like a moving string of lights as the glow from the Sun bounces off them before sunrise and after sunset. That may sound pretty, but it’s not a sight that astronomers want to see.

Alex - Parker - Research - Scientist - Astronomer

Alex Parker, a senior research scientist and astronomer working at the Southwest Research Institute, a nonprofit R&D organisation in Texas, posted a picture of what the view looks like for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The bright white diagonal slash is caused by the satellite blocking out the distant stars in the background. This interference stops astronomers being able to observe parts of space at certain times.

Communications - Satellites - Signals - Frequency - Noise

These communications satellites also transmit signals at a frequency that is read as noise by radio telescopes on Earth....
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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