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Is STARLINK going to impact astrophotography?

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#76 pyrasanth

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:47 AM

I don't see this much of a problem for the future. Sensors will get faster and more sensitive which means you just take 4 times as many subs in a given time and if you have to throw half of them away well that's not so bad. Software can do the selecting while you go & make a cup of tea or your wife happy.....so enjoy.smile.gif


Edited by pyrasanth, 17 October 2019 - 11:49 AM.


#77 Fox1971

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 08:27 AM

30,000 more in addition to the approved 12,000 satellites.

 

https://www.nytimes....satellites.html



#78 InFINNity

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 02:50 AM

Here is another story....

 

Nicolàs



#79 Lucullus

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 06:30 AM

If even astro professionals express concerns, also in combination with the LSSTs performance, as I read somewhere, then any amateur investment for some expensive 16" RC or equipment costing 20000$ and more with serious science in mind will probably be money thrown out the window with the coming constellations Starlink, Oneweb etc., right?

#80 InFINNity

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 07:01 AM

Well, that may not be entirely true. As amateurs we have the advantage of having more time observing available, so we can take multiple images of the same section of the sky and get rid of the trails in the processing. The professionals, however, prefer to take a single image and to push on to the next object of celestial area. As you will have read they wasted 5 minutes of their expensive observing time thanks to Starlink passing by, and that this time-waste will increase significantly with the increase of the number of sattelites. The amateur may also become affected as they may need more and shorter exposures to get enough redundancy to filter out all the trails. So in future we may need more integration time and disc space to get to the same results.

 

Personally I find it more worrying that in future we will see, with the naked eye, more satellites passing over than there are visible stars.

 

The funny thing is that Starlink is adding to the Kessler Syndrome, while the idea is that Starlink should "...pave the way for SpaceX to start building out its city on Mars by 2050."

 

So with some (bad) luck it may become impossible thanks to Starlink (and its competitors) to get that gear to Mars by the time the money has been earned. If that happens Elon Musk e.a. will earn a place in history as the person(s) that imprisoned humanity to earth...

 

Nicolàs


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#81 Lucullus

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 07:50 AM

Well, that may not be entirely true. As amateurs we have the advantage of having more time observing available, so we can take multiple images of the same section of the sky and get rid of the trails in the processing. The professionals, however, prefer to take a single image and to push on to the next object of celestial area. As you will have read they wasted 5 minutes of their expensive observing time thanks to Starlink passing by, and that this time-waste will increase significantly with the increase of the number of sattelites. The amateur may also become affected as they may need more and shorter exposures to get enough redundancy to filter out all the trails. So in future we may need more integration time and disc space to get to the same results.

 

Personally I find it more worrying that in future we will see, with the naked eye, more satellites passing over than there are visible stars.

 

The funny thing is that Starlink is adding to the Kessler Syndrome, while the idea is that Starlink should "...pave the way for SpaceX to start building out its city on Mars by 2050."

 

So with some (bad) luck it may become impossible thanks to Starlink (and its competitors) to get that gear to Mars by the time the money has been earned. If that happens Elon Musk e.a. will earn a place in history as the person(s) that imprisoned humanity to earth...

 

Nicolàs

LSST and other expensive professional facilities are by a great deal paid by tax payers via the NSF...I don't know even the rough details. Sounds silly, but the scientists were "first". And now come some private companies making it a race to trash the planet and cause the science-dollars from the tax payers being wasted to some extend while assumingly still charging 100% for their internet-satellite connections instead of reducing the charge to make up for the tax dollars being wasted as a cause by their private profit thinking. Why are such companies allowed to go on with such mega-projects affecting not only the nation whose government agency allowed to go on, but also all other nations who did not have any say in if they agree to such a mega-project?

And are these companies at the very least required to build in some mechanisms to let them dive into the atmosphere after they fail?

Why do we let such companies have such a great power over everyone in the first place? Why hyper-capitalism? Why is mere capitalism not enough? (I'm no communist if you think that.)


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#82 MikeTahtib

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 09:40 AM

AND they're not just a problem when the sun is shining on them.   When there are that many flying around, they will inevitably cross in front of stars, confusing the astronomers looking for exoplanets or any other study that looks for irregularities in stars' light.  

Is it really that difficult to build cell towers all over the world instead?


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#83 RedLionNJ

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 06:37 PM

AND they're not just a problem when the sun is shining on them.   When there are that many flying around, they will inevitably cross in front of stars, confusing the astronomers looking for exoplanets or any other study that looks for irregularities in stars' light.  

Is it really that difficult to build cell towers all over the world instead?

As far as the occulting properties of such relatively small satellites go - in one millisecond, such a satellite would have sufficient apparent movement to cover the diameters of roughly 300 typical stars as viewed from Earth.  That's in a totally different order of magnitude than detectable exoplanet occultations.



#84 Lucullus

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 06:19 AM

As far as the occulting properties of such relatively small satellites go - in one millisecond, such a satellite would have sufficient apparent movement to cover the diameters of roughly 300 typical stars as viewed from Earth.  That's in a totally different order of magnitude than detectable exoplanet occultations.

Yes. The science of star occulting solar system objects of yet undiscovered objects will probably be greatly affected as long as one doesn't have a line of observing stations to verify that the transiting object is of non-negligible diameter such as known asteroids.



#85 Lucullus

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 08:04 AM

For those amateurs still doing asteroid hunting how does STARLINK influence their work?

As for pretty pictures one can always expose more frames stack them and the satellite streaks are suppressed more or less depending on the stacking method used. But what about moving asteroid work? What if you expose 3 to 10 minutes per frame depending on your asteroid target? Are there software tools around which subtract continuous lines in a frame and do not affect non-streaked asteroid signals? And what if the satellite streaks are not continuous but interrupted due to their rotation along the orbit and interval reflection of sunlight down to earth?


Edited by Lucullus, 24 November 2019 - 03:09 PM.

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#86 InFINNity

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:51 PM

There is a chance to make a difference (by signing the petition): https://www.astro.pr...ites/index.html

 

Nicolàs



#87 555aaa

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 07:39 PM

Another article on this topic, this time in Bloomberg

https://www.bloomber...y-as-we-know-it



#88 Scott Mitchell

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 07:43 PM

Well, at least this update is promising. Not as good as not launching them at all, but still...

 

https://spacenews.co...rupt-astronomy/



#89 Riccardo_italy

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 08:22 AM

How many thousands high-reflectivity satellites will be in LEO (for my entire lifetime) before SpaceX is able to find a solution?

 

This is a great example of externality. In the economics textbooks, the classical example of externality is a chemical firm polluting a river with a fish-farm downstream. The pollution level is not incorporated into the chemical firm's profit, but the damage is beared by the fish-farm. As a result, this is a classical example of market failure: the pollution level will be too much (socially inefficient).

 

Here is exactly the same. SpaceX is the polluting firm, the scientific and amateur astronomical community plays the role of the fish farm. In fact the scientific output of the ESA Gian Magellan Telescope (about $1billion) has absolutely zero influence on SpaceX's profits.


Edited by Riccardo_italy, 09 December 2019 - 08:26 AM.

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#90 InFINNity

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 02:19 PM

Yesterday an article was published by Forbes:

 

https://www.forbes.c...ical-emergency/

 

Nicolàs


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#91 MikeBY

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 04:35 AM

No, trail identification algorithms haven't been created by anyone as far as I know - that's been the point of my posts... it's possible and shouldn't be difficult.  As mentioned - for well over a decade software has been able to convert images of handwriting to digital text and even crack CAPTCHAs.  It would be easy for software to identify which pixels fall in the path of straight lines within an image of deep space.  It would not be CPU intensive relative to the other tasks of PI. 

 

I'm sure incorporating the rejected pixels into the stacking process can be done as well.  For example, it might store references for the frame number and pixel location of the rejected pixels - that info can then be referred to and excluded from the final pixel value calculation.

And after you remove this trail of pixels, what do you replace the data with? You need to know what the trail masked. You say it "shouldn't be difficult". I beg to differ.

There are only 60 satellites in this model. What you also are not taking into account that SpaceX plans to have 42,000 satellites in orbit, and there are 9 other companies already approved to deploy similar solutions in competition. Suggest you try building a larger model if you really want to understand the impact.

FWIW, If they were all black and 'non-reflective' you'll have to develop an algorithm to remove black trails and still have the same issue of replacing the data with the correct background.  Of course, distinguishing a black trail from a mostly black background might be a bit more of a challenge.

 

Of course the impact to astronomers is only the beginning. It will impact any space initiative that will be headed to higher orbits because it will have to pass through this minefield of LEO objects, and the prospects of doing course corrections to avoid collisions both with operational satellites and with damaged or failed devices will quickly outpace the computational ability of on board navigation systems, or even groundbased radar and real-time course optimization navigation systems.
We do not have the technology or the political structures to manage this environment.  I think there are much more serious things to think about then just our hobbies.

https://www.scientif...s-of-space-junk.

 

https://www.scientif...constellations/



#92 InFINNity

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:06 AM

FWIW, If they were all black and 'non-reflective' you'll have to develop an algorithm to remove black trails and still have the same issue of replacing the data with the correct background.  Of course, distinguishing a black trail from a mostly black background might be a bit more of a challenge.

A fully black satellite will not produce a completely black trail. Instead such a satellite would only slightly darken objects it is passing in front of. It is more or less the same idea as an exo-planet transit. So depending on the size of the object in the background the satellite will only take a part of the light away or all the light during the very short duration it is covering the object. But as the exposure times are quite large there will be plenty light left. Depending on this duration in relation to the exposure time the satellite will at the most leave a slightly darkened trail, but that can indeed still be quite annoying, especially in astrophotometry.
 
Nicolàs

Edited by InFINNity, 17 December 2019 - 09:09 AM.


#93 chadrian84

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 09:21 AM

And after you remove this trail of pixels, what do you replace the data with? You need to know what the trail masked. You say it "shouldn't be difficult". I beg to differ.

 

The rejected pixels wouldn't be used in calculating the pixel value.  The final value would be an average from the non-rejected stacked pixels.  I don't see what's difficult about that.  In the case of just one image, some kind of blend of nearby non-rejected pixels might be better than nothing.  My point was about stacked images though.

 

I dislike the satellites and think they're bad for astronomy.  I doubt they pose much risk for DSO pretty pictures though.


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#94 MikeBY

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 08:02 PM

 

I dislike the satellites and think they're bad for astronomy.  I doubt they pose much risk for DSO pretty pictures though.

I agree, although the risk to astrophotography and astrophotometry I believe is very underestimated. However, discussion of the impact of these LEO satellites in terms of "DSO pretty pictures"  diminishes the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, meteorology, and space technologies in general. It is exactly this focus, intentionally held by SpaceX, other corporate interests and government administration, that makes this so dangerous. The amount of potential damage to scientific research and the utilization of space by the 'other' impacts and concerns is quite serious and significantly under reported in the mainstream press. The potential to create a low earth orbital band that is a wasteland of uncontrolled debris is significant and potentially disastrous for all types of future programs.


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#95 Starry eyes

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 08:55 PM

tongue2.gif See here what just the Geosynchronous satellites can do.

get.jpg?insecure

 

I gave up after a point trying to clip out these buggars!



#96 freestar8n

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 10:00 PM

It's been fairly cloudy here in Melbourne so I haven't had many chances to see these things in a good pass - but the times I tried I didn't see anything - with my eyes.  But I do have light pollution - and one of the passes had them going right overhead and brighter than mag 3 I think - according to Heavens-Above - but the twilight was still pretty bright.

 

As for occultations, there was an important occultation recently involving a single observation of a 1km scale trans-Neptunian object - which amounted to a very brief disappearance of a faint star in a field.  And even without Starlink they needed to have a duplicate observing system some distance away to make sure it wasn't due to a satellite or plane.  So there are occultation events that are very brief - and there is already stuff up there that means such observations need to be done in a redundant way to rule out more local causes.  Starlink would just increase the odds of a false positive - but the odds would remain low when a blip is seen at exactly the same time by two stations some distance apart.

 

The one thing that has given me some concern for professional work is that the LSST may be affected by flashes and glare from satellites in the field - and that would be hard to correct for, as opposed to local trails that can be excluded as long as you have two or more images of the field.  But that may be less of a factor if they find a way to make them less reflective.

 

It's all unpleasant to me and I don't like it - but at the same time I think the impact will be negligible for scientific work.  And I'm still not clear how visible they will be and for how much of the night - years from now.

 

Frank



#97 555aaa

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 08:26 PM

There's a lot about these satellites that is secret AFAIK like how big they are (size). Or if they even work. They appear to have a substantial solar array.

#98 calypsob

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 02:05 PM

So, even with low albedo...what happens when one of these things, even if it is effectively "dark", passes in front of a star that is being studied...say to determine if it has an exoplanet? Now the star will dim due to one of tens of thousands of satellites passing in front of it, in addition to an exoplanet passing in front of it. And how many other scientific endeavors can be "screwed with" due to tens of thousands of new satellites being tossed into orbit so that: we can have internet at the poles...

I also wonder...how will tens of thousands of additional satellites affect the launch of space craft to, say, get to the moon to build a lunar base, or send a manned mission to mars? How many launch windows that might otherwise have been viable will now have to be scrubbed because there are so many satellites zipping around in orbit so that: we can have internet at the poles...

I feel there has been a severe lack of real consideration of the consequences of putting so many satellites (not just StarLink, but others such as OneWeb (which will orbit at 1200km!), etc.) into LEO...


All it will take is a soccerball sized hole in the James Webb during its transit to space to have some law put into place about space trash.

You would think someone would take a que from ocean trash.

Edited by calypsob, 19 December 2019 - 02:05 PM.

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#99 Lucullus

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 03:03 PM

https://www.eso.org/...ments/ann19062/



#100 bortle2

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:30 AM

Just posted by BBC:

 

https://www.bbc.com/...onment-50870117

 

Now OneWeb do talk about finding some compromises, but...




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