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Larger new Starlink satellites : more threat to night sky ?

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#1 skysurfer

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Posted 26 August 2022 - 02:40 AM

Mayby wrong subforum: mod you can move this to the correct subforum.

 

This article is about an agreement between T-Mobile and SpaceX for even larger Starlink satellites.

 

https://arstechnica....age/?comments=1

 

When this trend continues, we can forget about satellite free night skies. Anywhere in the world.

 


 

#2 Masonry00

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Posted 26 August 2022 - 02:46 AM

Mayby wrong subforum: mod you can move this to the correct subforum.

 

This article is about an agreement between T-Mobile and SpaceX for even larger Starlink satellites.

 

https://arstechnica....age/?comments=1

 

When this trend continues, we can forget about satellite free night skies. Anywhere in the world.

I'm more bothered by terrestrial light pollution than satellites that sweep by quickly and aren't bright enough to impact my night vision. They actually make the night sky more interesting, at least to me. In fact, airplanes bother me more than satellites. 


 

#3 PEterW

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Posted 26 August 2022 - 12:47 PM

Larger starlink are already on the cards, the question is whether they can launch enough to make a profit and whether the bandwidth they can provide will make people want to use them. In twilight I can see plenty of little moving dots nowadays, as you note a lot more may be on the way. They will deorbit after not too many years and are not designed to stay up for decades, so they won’t contribute to space junk in the long term… though the South Pacific satellite graveyard will get quite a few depositions.

Peter
 

#4 ion

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Posted 26 August 2022 - 07:44 PM

we can forget about satellite free night skies. Anywhere in the world.

Don't worry, as Masonry00 has assured us, satellite pollution
will "sweep by quickly" and is no big deal because they "aren't
bright enough to impact my night vision". Meanwhile, as PEterW
pointed out, losing the night sky is okay because very rich
people will make even more money. Plus, the light pollution
machines will fall one day and leave trails of toxic dust and
probably only hit the ocean, probably. One would think that an
astronomer posting to a light pollution forum would find much
less irrelevant narcissistic rationalizations and far more
support, sympathy and solutions to this dire problem.

We must stop those who would destroy the sky!

FCC Cancels Starlink’s and LTD’s Broadband Satellite Grants Due
to Risky Proposals, Failing to Meet Program Requirements


SpaceX Program Risks ‘Multiple Tragedies of the Commons,’
But FCC Turns Blind Eye


The costly collateral damage from Elon Musk's Starlink satellite fleet

Surely an army of angry astronomers can stop one mad supervillian?

Edited by ion, 26 August 2022 - 08:15 PM.

 

#5 Irido

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Posted 26 August 2022 - 08:06 PM

I'm more bothered by terrestrial light pollution than satellites that sweep by quickly and aren't bright enough to impact my night vision. They actually make the night sky more interesting, at least to me. In fact, airplanes bother me more than satellites. 

I was out today and saw at least 3 Starlink sats within the span of a few minutes. One of them actually passed through the FOV of my F/10 90mm achromat while I was aligning my finderscope. They're very bright, even through my small telescope. I can't imagine how bad this could be for astrophotographers/astronomy researchers/planetary defense observers. They don't really make the night sky more interesting. They're nuisances.


 

#6 Ron359

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 01:59 PM

"Our vision is, if you have a clear view of the sky, you're connected," Sievert said."

 

     Oh the irony of it all...never has a more oxymoronic statement been made about the night sky and astronomy.  Ranks right up there with "military intelligence."    


 

#7 Ron359

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 02:11 PM

 In fact, airplanes bother me more than satellites. 

LOL!    Thats  funny,   cause  one night in opening my observatory, the first time I saw a long train of bright Muskelites passing over head for over 40 minutes,  I thought there was a new airport landing approach path suddenly over my house & observatory!   It was just like standing at the end of an approach runway at a major airport watching the jets come in.     


Edited by Ron359, 28 August 2022 - 02:25 PM.

 

#8 Masonry00

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 02:30 PM

I grew up in the early 1960's and I can still remember the thrill we felt when we saw one and how rare they were.


 

#9 BlueMoon

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 02:31 PM

Get used to it folks. https://www.darksky....atellite-study/


 

#10 ion

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 03:10 PM

Get used to it folks. https://www.darksky....atellite-study/


Please stop trying to demoralize us. We will never get used to it.
We will never shut up. We will stop those who would destroy the sky.
 

#11 BlueMoon

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 03:19 PM

 

Please stop trying to demoralize us. We will never get used to it.
We will never shut up. We will stop those who would destroy the sky.

I'm not demoralizing anyone. I'm a pragmatist. I've been observing for 57 years and every year, more aircraft, more satellites and ground-based light pollution continue to increase.

Good luck with your crusade.


Edited by BlueMoon, 28 August 2022 - 05:34 PM.

 

#12 GeorgeLiv

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 03:10 PM

From the posts & comments I've seen about this satellite/aircraft topic, there are two obvious things that I believe many amateur astronomers are doing improperly.

 

#1 - You are (probably) observing, or attempting to observe, during the early evening hours. This is a time when flying aircraft are at their worst. By laws or conventions, air traffic is drastically reduced near midnight. Similarly, but by means of the elevation of Earth's shadow, satellite streaks are reduced or become quite faint in the few hours centered around midnight local time. This is more true in the fall & winter than in spring & summer. A non-geosynchronous satellite is completely dark when the sun is more than ~25° below your horizon. (Astronomical twilight ends or starts when the sun is 18° below).

 

#2 - You are taking news headlines without critically evaluating them and you are forming opinions that appear rigid.

 

Go out and observe, if you can, at different times during the night, especially through the long winter nights. You might find out for yourself that the night sky is quite atrocious at certain times. Yet at other times it is quite lovely and still primitive.


 

#13 CharLakeAstro

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 04:17 PM

My preference would be to not have these constellations of LEO sats flying by.

 

The way to make a difference on this and every issue that is important to a person, is by actively engaging in the political process. For me, that is why I am a member of a party, and actively participating in vetting the leadership candidates, and in policy dialogs.

 

Our representatives, represent the opinion of those constituents who they hear. They typically do not read astronomy forums.


 

#14 Ron359

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 04:23 PM

From the posts & comments I've seen about this satellite/aircraft topic, there are two obvious things that I believe many amateur astronomers are doing improperly.

 without critically evaluating them and you are forming opinions that appear rigid.

 

Go out and observe, if you can, at different times during the night, especially through the long winter nights. You might find out for yourself that the night sky is quite atrocious at certain times. Yet at other times it is quite lovely and still primitive.

How snobbish of you to tell us how improper we are to view the night sky whenever we have the opportunity or will to and expect lovely views .  Yes,  its quite atrocious at times,  and, air traffic, climate  change induced wild fire smoke or haze, LED LP from mega-cites, so mega-constellations are just 'one more thing' making it even more atrocious at almost any time of the year or night.  Its not like any of those things only occur during certain hours or times of the year at night.  

 

My concern is not so much for "amateur astronomers." Except for telescope dealers (like this CN owner) trying to make a living off selling the next great thing for imaging or viewing,  the amateurs time for pristine dark skies is long lost  in the fetid swamp of ground LP.  Our loss means nothing to the larger sphere of life or civilization. My concern is for professional Earth based science of Astronomy.  Because of meag-city LP, they are  now based on the last tiny mountain tops in remote parts of Earth with pristine skies. What wii be the 'downstream' effects of missing just one key piece of data cause it was 'washed' by an algorithm from an image or spectra,  or a missed 'minor asteroid' streak will have over time?  They won't be good.  

 

At a minimum, large scale surveys at all wavelengths,  will be severely 'damaged' and if astronomy research is reduced to the narrow views of a few space telescopes there will be decreasing numbers of intelligent brains and eyes working on the 'big questions' of cosmology and physics.  But we'll all be able to watch instant TikTok,  Cat videos and the Kardashians until the end.  


Edited by Ron359, 30 August 2022 - 04:42 PM.

 

#15 Masonry00

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 01:55 AM

Negative impacts to using a telescope to view the night sky are numerous. They include:

 

Jet contrail vapor

Particulate matter from jet engines

Particulate matter from automotive pollution

Particulates from oil refining

Particulates from electrical generating plants

Heat distortion from all of the above sources

Aerosol pollution

Refrigerant pollution

Light pollution from aircraft lighting that is mandated by the FAA and other agencies

Light pollution from airports

Light pollution from street lighting

Light pollution from parking lots

Light pollution from commercial buildings

Light pollution from residential "security" lighting

Light pollution from automotive headlights

Atmospheric dust from agriculture

Atmospheric dust from mining

Satellites (ironically including space telescopes)

 

I would suggest that non-satellite sources of negative impacts far, far outweigh those attributable to satellites. That's why we have space-based telescopes and they provide observations with dramatically more clarity, less distortion and far better contrast by rising above all the earth-based sources of light pollution and particulates that filter the views.

 

The price of launching space-based telescopes is falling dramatically and the number of these orbiting telescopes is just starting to explode. They are even using distributed imaging of multiple orbiting telescopes to resolve ever finer and more faint details that blow away the best earth-based measurements and images. The price is dropping so fast, and the quality of the views is so much better that I predict amatuer astronomers of the future will be more likely to be controlling an orbiting telescope, from their desk at home or work, than one in their light-polluted back yard. 

 

I think those who rail against satellite light pollution in the early morning and early evening hours are largely just transferring their anger about all the earth-based sources of light pollution and particulate matter on the things they can clearly see, little points of light orbiting the earth after dark. Everyone needs a convenient boogeyman but many of those same people will be in amateur astronomy heaven when they are finally doing their amateur observations via orbiting telescopes for rent. Ironically, funding the very things they like to rail endlessly about. 


 

#16 BFaucett

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 03:55 AM

I thought this video might be of interest.

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif

 

 

Ellie-Starlink-400x.jpg

 

How SpaceX is continuing to reduce brightness of UFO like satellites
When Starlink satellites are launched, it’s impossible to miss them in the night sky. No, they're not UFOs, but a satellite train...  And this brightness of Starlink satellites has been a point of contention in the astronomy community.
video posted to YouTube on Aug 2, 2022
YouTube channel: Ellie in Space
    
guest: Jonathan McDowell
   

"Jonathan Christopher McDowell is an astronomer and astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He is a staff member at the Chandra X-ray Center. McDowell is the author and editor of Jonathan's Space Report, an e-mail-distributed newsletter documenting satellite launches."
https://en.wikipedia...nathan_McDowell

    
video link:  https://www.youtube....h?v=vHW3clIokqk

 


 

#17 Ron359

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 10:35 AM

I thought this video might be of interest.

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif

 

 

attachicon.gifEllie-Starlink-400x.jpg

 

 

Its a shame the name SkyNet was already used by James Cameron for the Terminator movies of our future.  Otherwise it would have been way too obvious and Musk marketing influencers had to come up with the name StarLink instead.   But now T-mobile can call their bright shiny new satellites,  T-100,  T-1000 etc...   


Edited by Ron359, 31 August 2022 - 03:48 PM.

 

#18 Masonry00

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 10:59 AM

I thought this video might be of interest.

 

Cheers! Bob F. smile.gif

 

 

attachicon.gifEllie-Starlink-400x.jpg

 

How SpaceX is continuing to reduce brightness of UFO like satellites
When Starlink satellites are launched, it’s impossible to miss them in the night sky. No, they're not UFOs, but a satellite train...  And this brightness of Starlink satellites has been a point of contention in the astronomy community.
video posted to YouTube on Aug 2, 2022
YouTube channel: Ellie in Space
    
guest: Jonathan McDowell
   

"Jonathan Christopher McDowell is an astronomer and astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He is a staff member at the Chandra X-ray Center. McDowell is the author and editor of Jonathan's Space Report, an e-mail-distributed newsletter documenting satellite launches."
https://en.wikipedia...nathan_McDowell

    
video link:  https://www.youtube....h?v=vHW3clIokqk

 

Thanks for that, it was very informative. I think it's commendable the way SpaceX is taking the lead and helping other satellite owners reduce impacts from their space-based assets. It's amazing they spend so much private capital to reduce reflected light when it's totally unregulated and there are no pressing legal reasons to do so.

 

With those details covered by others, I think it's time to take care of the real elephant in the room. Specifically, the biggest glare producing object in the night sky on most evenings, the sunlit moon! The glare and negative impacts are substantial, even when it's a 1/4 crescent. And it's a rare night when the moon isn't lit and creating glare, at least for a good part of the productive viewing hours. It's so bad that many astronomers completely give up on observing whenever the moon is more than 50% illuminated.

 

Perhaps the solution is to reduce its albedo with well-placed detonations of packets of carbon black on the half of the moon that faces earth. I think the carbon black, if properly dispersed in the thin moon atmosphere, would eventually settle evenly on the surface and absorb the lion's share of sunlight landing on the lunar surface before it was reflected back to earth to mess with earth-based astronomical observations. This would solve this pesky light pollution problem once and for all. An added bonus would be that new meter strikes on the lunar surface would displace the carbon black dust and create a visible and very obvious bright spot to highlight the recent activity. 


Edited by Masonry00, 01 September 2022 - 10:38 AM.

 

#19 StarBurger

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 11:17 AM

My last four sessions of AP (about 2 hours each of 60 sec subs) revealed NOT ONE sat trail! I'm not complaining except I have no explanation. 

Last year every session had at least one trail. And I am not complaining about that either.

LP is what ticks me off. I would rather have a trail in every frame and NO LP!


 

#20 skysurfer

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 01:46 PM

 

With those details covered by others, I think it's time to take care of the real elephant in the room. Specifically, the biggest glare producing object in the night sky 99% of the time, the sunlit moon! The glare and negative impacts are substantial, even when it's a 1/4 crescent. And it's a rare night when the moon isn't lit and creating glare, at least for a good part of the productive viewing hours. It's so bad that many astronomers completely give up on observing whenever the moon is more than 50% illuminated.

On average, the Moon is above the horizon 50% of the time, regardless of phase, not 99%.

And when illuminated over 50% is is only 25% of the time. And with a crescent Moon, terrestial LP is worse when Bortle <= 3.

Only at full moon it is Bortle 7-8 sky, anywhere.


Edited by skysurfer, 31 August 2022 - 01:46 PM.

 

#21 Chucke

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 02:05 PM

One of out local news programs uses Skynet for their weather segment.  I laugh every time I hear it.


 

#22 Ron359

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 04:06 PM

On average, the Moon is above the horizon 50% of the time, regardless of phase, not 99%.

And when illuminated over 50% is is only 25% of the time. And with a crescent Moon, terrestial LP is worse when Bortle <= 3.

Only at full moon it is Bortle 7-8 sky, anywhere.

Totally unknown to that post-er,  is the fact the Moon is relatively dark. It reflects an avg. of 12% of the Sunlight. Thats at Full Moon.  Thats about the same as asphalt.    The Earth reflects about 31% for comparison. 


Edited by Ron359, 31 August 2022 - 06:01 PM.

 

#23 csa/montana

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 05:56 PM

Folks, let's please remain respectful to one another!  Everyone has a right to post their viewpoint without being ridiculed or attacked.


 

#24 Masonry00

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Posted 01 September 2022 - 10:58 AM

On average, the Moon is above the horizon 50% of the time, regardless of phase, not 99%.

And when illuminated over 50% is is only 25% of the time. And with a crescent Moon, terrestial LP is worse when Bortle <= 3.

Only at full moon it is Bortle 7-8 sky, anywhere.

All true. I could have worded it more pedantically. What I was trying to say was that on 99% of the clear nights, the brightest thing that shows up in the night sky is the moon (at some point). Not that it's present 99% of the time in total. Of course, even that could be argued based on the rare nights when moon is in rough alignment with the sun during twilight hours but the "99%" percent statement was not meant to be precise, it was merely a shorthand way of saying "almost all the time". 

 

And, yes, light pollution from earth-based sources can be much worse than even the moon and all satellites combined if you live around major metropolitan areas, as most Americans do. And that is why I think people focus to their own detriment on satellites that have only a tiny fraction of the impact compared to other, much larger sources of glare and light pollution that actually have severe impacts on astronomical seeing. It's not satellites that is causing professional astronomers to do ever increasing amounts from space-based telescopes, it's the other larger impacts like terrestrial light pollution, atmospheric disturbances and pollution, etc. 

 

It would be epically ironic, if it was other satellites impacts that caused astronomers to fund the creation of satellite-based telescopes so they could have an orbiting platform free from satellites!  smirk.gif


 

#25 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 01 September 2022 - 02:02 PM

Please stop trying to demoralize us. We will never get used to it.
We will never shut up. We will stop those who would destroy the sky.

 

Candles, that's what you need, not the LED light pandemic!

 

smiley-char145.gif

 

https://picdumidi.co...du-midi/rice-en

 

Interesting what improvements PROPERLY designed and controlled led lighting can bring mind...


Edited by Old Speckled Hen, 01 September 2022 - 02:12 PM.

 


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