Astronomers unite against ‘visual pollution’ caused by satellite constellations

Deepak Gupta February 8, 2022
Updated 2022/02/08 at 9:26 PM

Last month you saw here that astronomical images recorded by ground-based observatories were experiencing “interference” from satellite constellations. now the International Astronomical Union (Wow) decided to go a step beyond regrets or accept the situation. THE Wow announced the creation of the Center for the Protection of the Dark and Silent Sky from Interference of Satellite Constellations. Center for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference)

Astronomers seek dialogue with governments and companies

In the announcement of the creation of the Center, Debra Elmegreenpresident of Wow, highlighted that it is important to ensure that technological advances do not impede studies of the sky. The Center’s main function will be to dialogue with government agencies and companies so that there is better regulation of the industry and that satellite manufacturers produce equipment that causes less interference in the images captured in Earth observatories.


Source: Caltech Optical Observatories/IPAC.

THE starlink was the first company to seek to reduce its (negative) impact on space images. Listening to the astronomical community, the company installed panels on the new generations of the satellite that act as “dark glasses”, protecting the light from being reflected by the antenna.

Increase the number of images with satellite constellations

With the starlink completing its constellation of satellites and more other companies (such as Amazon, Boeing and OneWeb), it is expected that “virtually all images” from telescopes located on Earth will have the trail of satellites in low orbit. However, the study that analyzed the impact on photos from space (done by the Zwicky Transient Facility) only looked at the appearance of Starlink equipment. Not out of entanglement with the Elon Muskbut because the internet service of SpaceX is the most advanced (yes, things are only going to get worse), with more satellites in orbit. In 2019, 0.5% of photos were affected. Currently, it is 20% of the images.

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Source: Gizmodo

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