Astronomers join forces to fight back satellite ‘pollution’

(ORDO NEWS) — The number of active satellites in the night sky has more than doubled since 2019, from 2,200 to 5,000.

This is mainly due to Starlink, a SpaceX project aimed at providing internet anywhere in the world via “mega constellations” of satellites.

Since its founding, Starlink has launched over 2,000 satellites. Unfortunately, the thousands of satellites needed to create such a wide Internet coverage have a huge drawback: their reflective light bands literally obscure ground-based astronomy.

Late last week, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the creation of a brand new center to bring together astronomers and counter mega constellations called the IAU Center for Protecting Dark and Quiet Skies from Satellite Constellation Interference.

“I think it’s really important because it’s projected to have 100,000 new satellites by the end of the decade,” said Flinders University space archaeologist Alice Gorman.

Ground-based optical and radio astronomy needs several conditions to explore the universe. Optical telescopes require dark skies, away from artificial light pollution or shiny satellites reflecting the sun’s rays.

Radio telescopes need silence. For example, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), one of the co-founders of the new IAU center, listens to a wide range of radio frequencies.

Starlink and other mega-constellations of broadband internet also use radio frequencies, some of which are in the same band as SKA.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.