Challenge for astronomy: Megaconstellations becoming the new light pollution

Asia's Tech News Daily

Challenge for astronomy: Megaconstellations becoming the new light pollution
© Provided by Space An astronomical image marred by trails caused by satellites of SpaceX’s Starlink megaconstellation.

Satellite megaconstellations are quickly becoming a serious problem to 21st century astronomy akin to urban light pollution, and speedy action is needed as regulations considerably lag behind technology development, a new report finds. 

The executive summary of the report, released last week by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), sums up the conclusions of a dedicated workshop called SATCON 2 that was held in July of this year.

The summary states that the industrialization of space, brought about by the advent of vast internet-beaming constellations of small and cheap satellites, such as SpaceX’s Starlink project, is on the verge of transforming the appearance of the night sky. 

Related: Astronomers ask UN committee to protect night skies from megaconstellations

While most individual satellites are invisible to the naked eye, even the most basic telescopes will easily pick up their trails. Moreover, the sky may brighten by a factor of two to three due to diffuse reflection of sunlight off the spacecraft, further hampering observations, the report said. 

The astronomical community, which found itself increasingly pushed out to remote uninhabited areas as cheap artificial lighting took over the world in the past century, is now facing a new, far less geographically restricted problem. 

“About twenty years ago, rapid advances in technology led to the viability of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as outdoor lighting,” the report said. “With compelling operational and economic reasons to make the shift from legacy gas-discharge systems, communities around the world began installing white LEDs as their lighting of choice. In time, the side effects of the vastly increased sky glow and blue-rich spectral distribution of white LEDs became apparent.”

The advent of LED outdoor lighting was so speedy that the unprepared astronomical community has been playing catchup ever since. With megaconstellations, the community now has a chance to affect the future course of events. That “window of opportunity,” however, is closing quickly, the report said. 

“We are on the threshold of fundamentally changing a natural resource that since our earliest ancestors has been a source of wonder, storytelling, discovery and understanding of ourselves and our origins,” the report stated. “We transform that at our peril.”

The report said that nearly all consulted SATCON 2 participants had already noticed a “dramatic rise in constellation satellite sightings” over the past two years, and some see the “unchecked actions of space actors as colonization expanded to a cosmic scale during a time of global crisis.”

The report further added that the sky “must be considered part of the environment, and the current [U.S.] National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) exemption for the satellite constellation industry must end.”

The participants named the relatively low pace of progress in terms of achieving academic consensus on such issues, and the further, even lengthier political negotiations as the major problems contributing to the situation. By contrast, the profit-driven satellite industry moves “quickly and nimbly, within the competitive environment of a new frontier of opportunity.”

The report made basic recommendations for improved cooperation between the astronomy community and the industry but also discussed the importance of developing technologies that could protect astronomy from unwanted interference. 

Improved satellite tracking, accessibility of this information in real time and software that masks and removes satellite trails from astronomical observations will be necessary, the report said. 

The problem, the report stated, is not limited to optical astronomy but affects all wavelengths in which observations are conducted. 

Astronomers were originally taken by surprise by the scale of the disruption caused by Starlink satellites, which became obvious shortly after the launch of the constellation’s first big batch in 2019. 

SpaceX tried to mitigate the problem by changing the altitude of the satellites and making them dimmer, but the success of these measures has been limited. 

Human-made objects already interfere with astronomical discovery. Last year, for example, a team of researchers from China thought they had discovered a gamma ray burst, the most intense burst of light in the universe linked to a supernova explosion, coming from the oldest known galaxy in the universe. Later studies revealed that the intense brightening seen by the team was actually caused by a passing spent rocket stage

The International Astronomical Union called on the United Nations earlier this year to protect the dark night sky as irreplaceable human heritage. The union announced in June this year that it intends to establish a Centre for the Protection of the Dark Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference that will focus on mitigation of optical light interference by satellite constellations. 

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Mohanlal's Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham makes a business of Rs 100 crore before release – here's how

© Provided by BollywoodLife.com Mohanlal and Priyadarshan have been working on the idea Marakkar for years. It is said that the initial work on the project began in 1996. And ... Read more »

KBC 13 Episode 73 Written Update: Contestant Varnika Kothari sends gift for Aaradhya Bachchan, Big B says she will be happy

Varnika Kothari sent a gift for Aaradhya Bachchan. On yesterday, the December 1 episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati 13, Big B welcomed back rollover contestant Rajnandini Kalita. She had won ... Read more »

Gabby Petito's family converts social accounts into missing persons pages

Gabby Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt (center left), announced the social media page once used in efforts to locate Petito will expand into a missing persons page. AP Gabby Petito’s family ... Read more »

MLB lockout official as CBA expiration brings baseball to halt

As midnight hit Thursday morning, a Major League Baseball owners’ lockout of the players became a reality. As Max Scherzer said Wednesday afternoon, during a Zoom news conference to announce ... Read more »

Throwback Thursday: When Kashmera Shah felt shy working with Shah Rukh Khan

© Provided by Mid-Day Kashmera Shah, who is all set to celebrate her 50th birthday, has entertained the for more than a few decades now. As she celebrates her special ... Read more »

Adarsh Gourav grateful to Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone & others to pave way for actors in Hollywood

© Provided by Pinkvilla Those who have seen The White Tiger will agree that Adarsh Gourav’s performance was amazing and something that cannot go unnoticed. The actor became an overnight ... Read more »

Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas' 3rd Wedding Anniversary Celebration Was All About Wine, Candles, And Coziness of Love

© Vineeta Kumar | India.com Entertainment Desk Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas’ 3rd Wedding Anniversary Celebration Was All About Wine, Candles, And Coziness of Love (Photo Courtesy: Instagram/ Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas) ... Read more »

From Subhash Gupte to Shreyas Iyer, Shivaji Park Gymkhana legacy lives on

© Provided by The Times of India It made for lovely banter in Mumbai’s club circuit and Whatsapp groups. Sunil Gavaskar, an India and Dadar Union (DU) legend giving the ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15: Did Shamita Shetty leave house AGAIN for medical reasons? Fans clear Vikas Gupta's confusion – read tweets

© Provided by BollywoodLife.com In yesterday’s episode of Bigg Boss 15, Shamita Shetty fainted after a major fight with Devoleena Bhattacharjee. Both of them were yelling at the top of ... Read more »

India defeat Belgium 1-0 as defending champions progress to semi-final of Junior Hockey World Cup

India men’s junior hockey team Defending champions India registered a grueling 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarter-finals and booked its place in the semis. Shardanand Tiwari converted the penalty ... Read more »

Germans face lockdown under plans to treat only those with Covid booster jabs as fully vaccinated

A sign indicating an obligation to wear face masks is seen at the Christmas market in the city of Duisburg, western Germany on Nov 29 – AFP Plans for vaccine ... Read more »

Billings hospitals won't require COVID vaccine for workers

Billings hospitals won’t require COVID vaccine for workers Read more »

First US Omicron case adds to global alarm over virus: Live news

© Provided by Al Jazeera The White House also plans to announce stricter testing rules for international visitors [Carlos Barria/Reuters] Fears over the impact of the Omicron variant of the ... Read more »

More listed units of biz groups adopt e-voting for small shareholders

SEJONG, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) — More listed units of South Korea’s major business groups have adopted electronic voting and other types of voting this year than a year earlier in ... Read more »

Now connect with people on LinkedIn in Hindi

New Delhi: Professional networking platform LinkedIn unveiled a user interface in Hindi, with the goal to support 600 million Hindi language speakers globally.With this launch, LinkedIn aims to break down ... Read more »

Apple tells suppliers demand for iPhone 13 lineup has weakened: Report

Apple Inc has told its parts suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 lineup has slowed, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, signaling that some ... Read more »

Covid pandemic: Scottish government looks set to make same catastrophic mistakes again as NHS crisis grows – Ian Murray MP

© Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon must act to protect the NHS (Picture: Andrew Milli… Covid is still hospitalising people, and there’s the knock-on impact from the lockdowns, ... Read more »

Instagram head to testify before US Senate panel on 'protecting kids online'

Instagram head Adam Mosseri will testify on Dec. 8 at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on “protecting kids online,” the panel said on Wednesday. “This hearing will address what Instagram ... Read more »

Edinburgh Council is failing to disclose important information about Sean Bell's 20-year reign of abuse – John McLellan

© Councillors should be allowed to see details of an ‘old boys’ network’ of male colleagues in Sean Be… Maybe it was unrealistic to expect that councillors of all persuasions ... Read more »

WhatsApp says banned over 2 million accounts in India in October

New Delhi: WhatsApp on Wednesday said that it banned over two million accounts in India in October in compliance with the new IT Rules 2021.The Meta-owned platform WhatsApp also received ... Read more »

Facebook asks court to dismiss US FTC antitrust lawsuit for good

Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook asked a U.S. court on Wednesday to dismiss and not allow the refiling of an antitrust lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission which urges a ... Read more »

Edinburgh MP presses Boris Johnson to back her Clean Air Bill and bring UK targets in line with international guidelines

© Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article. She raised the matter at Prime ... Read more »

France's right-wing Republicans hold first round of presidential primary

© Ludovic Marin, AFP/File Members of France’s main right-wing Republicans party began voting on Wednesday to choose their candidate for next year’s election, with the contest seen as wide open ... Read more »

Australia Omicron count edges higher, health authorities on edge

© Reuters/LOREN ELLIOTT Travellers wear personal protective equipment outside the international terminal at Sydney Airport in Sydney SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s tally of people with the new Omicron variant of ... Read more »

Timeline: Southeast Asia's Grab takes a ride to $40 billion SPAC listing

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery platform Grab Holdings lists on Nasdaq via the world’s largest special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal worth $40 billion. © Reuters/Stringer ... Read more »

Apple may have a problem with iPhone demand as well as supply

Apple is indicating to its iPhone 13 component suppliers that it may not order as many units as expected due to a drop in demand, according to a report in ... Read more »

SG mid-year employment rate rises to 67.2% in 2021

© Provided by Singapore Business Review The Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MoM) issued the Advance Release of its annual Labour Force in Singapore ... Read more »

«Die Impfpflicht ist besser als ein Lockdown oder Verschärfungen für Ungeimpfte»

© keystone Warteschlange vor einem Impfbus in Wien. In Österreich gilt ab Februar 2022 eine allgemeine Impfpflicht. Der Zürcher SP-Nationalrat Fabian Molina plädiert als einer der ersten Bundespolitiker für eine ... Read more »

Virat Kohli to be removed as India ODI captain ahead of South Africa tour? BIG updates you need to know

© Provided by DNA A decision on Virat Kohli’s future as India ODI captain is expected to be taken this week when the selectors meet to finalise the team for ... Read more »

After delay, NASA astronauts set for spacewalk to replace faulty space station antenna

By Steve Gorman (Reuters) – Two NASA astronauts were set to embark on a spacewalk on Thursday to replace a faulty antenna on the International Space Station (ISS), after a ... Read more »

It's ‘Dry Days' for Bihar Police but CAPF's 8 Lakh Staff Can Soon Buy Alcohol Online

© Provided by News18 It’s ‘Dry Days’ for Bihar Police but CAPF’s 8 Lakh Staff Can Soon Buy Alcohol Online Although the Bihar police had taken a vow to not ... Read more »

Greensburg man jailed, accused of leading police on 108 mph pursuit

Dec. 2—A Greensburg man accused of leading police on a seven-mile, high-speed chase that started in in the city and ended near Murrysville was arrested after an officer recognized his ... Read more »

Active COVID-19 cases in country increase to 99,763

With 9,765 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,46,06,541, while the active cases increased to 99,763, according to the Union ... Read more »

Delhi air quality slips to 'severe' category, minimum temp rises

The air quality of the national capital deteriorated on Thursday and settled in the “severe” category with the AQI clocking at 419 at 8 am, even as the minimum temperature ... Read more »

INI CET PG January 2022: First round seat allocation schedule released

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, AIIMS has released first round seat allocation schedule for INI CET PG January 2022. The online seat allocation schedule has been released for MD/ ... Read more »

Delhi's air quality worsens yet again, enters ‘severe' zone

© Provided by Hindustan Times Low visibility due to smog at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT File photo) Delhi’s air quality worsened on Thursday to “severe” ... Read more »

Amid Deadlock, China Looks at Integrated Air Defence Grid, Putting Together PLA & Air Force Assets: Intel​

© Provided by News18 Amid Deadlock, China Looks at Integrated Air Defence Grid, Putting Together PLA & Air Force Assets: Intel​ Amid the deadlock at the Line of Actual Control ... Read more »

David Hussey aims to bring Kolkata Knight Riders lessons to Melbourne Stars

© Getty Images David Hussey has had contrasting fortunes in his two seasons as head coach © Getty Images Melbourne Stars coach David Hussey believes he learned more from the ... Read more »

December 2, 1971: what happened on the UAE's first National Day?

© Provided by The National Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, in Abu Dhabi with British political officials Sir Geoffrey Arthur, left, and Jim Treadwell in 1971, shortly before unification. Photo: ... Read more »

Review: Here, Now exhibition in Riyadh questions identity

© Provided by The National ‘Struggle to Surface’ (2016) by Sheila Hicks. Photo: Misk Art Institute Two bold and dark figures guard the entrance of Here, Now, the exhibition at ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic