A cluttered and noisy sky? The challenge of satellite constellations
Fri 3 November 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm GMT
A cluttered and noisy sky? Meeting the challenge of satellite constellations (and why you should care)
This is the third in a series of four talks on the Bath Preservation Trust / Herschel Museum of Astronomy theme Conserving the Planet. The last talk will be on Friday 1 December at BRLSI.
Sixty five years ago the Soviet Union placed the first satellite in space. There are now around five thousand satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO), the region up to 2,000km above the ground, and their deployment is accelerating.
2019 saw the launch of Starlink, a satellite constellation built and launched by SpaceX, a system that on its own could soon have more than thirty thousand spacecraft deployed. With other operators we could see up to four hundred thousand satellites in LEO by the end of this decade.
This is nothing less than a step change in our use of space. And like most paradigm shifts, it will have significant consequences. A key example is how it will affect the science of astronomy and our view of the sky. Robert Massey will set out the problem, what it means for scientists and the wider public, and what we can do about it.
Dr Robert Massey is Deputy Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society. With a lifelong private and public passion for astronomy, he very much wants to avoid a world where satellites ruin our shared heritage of an unsullied night sky.
Image: © NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory /CTIO/AURA/DELVE