Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

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Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:47 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2020/0214.shtml

I doubt that SpaceX, OneWeb or Facebook will be filling the heavens with tens of thousands of satellites for philanthropic or humanitarian reasons. Of course not, this is a purely profit-oriented exercise that could have a hugely negative impact on certain areas of science.

So, are we about to see the mighty dollar trump our quest for knowledge and understanding of the universe?

And how will we see that killer asteroid on a collision-path with Earth when the sky is filled with all those twinking points of light blocking our view?

Do we really need ubiquitous connectivity to every square cm of the planet's surface or is the cost too high?
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby phill » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:32 am

if its only the light pollution they create and not the physical barrier they create
there should be some easy solutions ( urgent )
like non reflective coatings ?
that means anything from paint type coatings to anodized or surface etching
seems a no brainier even if it dosnt last forever its a bonus and the leo satellites dont have a really long life anyway
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiny things i have got
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:56 am

They're already looking at potential solutions to the light pollution problem. From a Dec '19 article:
In response to increased pressure, SpaceX has said it will test an experimental coating that is meant to make its Starlink satellites less reflective. According to Shotwell, the coating will go on the bottom of one of the 60 new satellites due to be launched into orbit later this month.

The company wants to test it out before applying it to more satellites in the future, since the anti-reflective properties could create thermal changes that adversely affect performance. Shotwell believes the solution will be modified over “trial and error” to make it work safely and properly.

In fact, nobody knows yet whether the coating will make much of a difference. “It's worth a try,” says Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “But I fear it will be offset by the fact that they are moving the constellation to a lower orbit. We'll see. I appreciate the efforts that SpaceX are making.” .
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby hagfish » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:08 am

Most of us already sacrificed our view of the night sky to live in cities. If we cheerfully plonked two rows of pylons along the Ruapehu side of the Desert Road, paved our beaches, ceded 1/3 of our urban areas to cars, dammed our rivers, I can't imagine there being much fuss about a few more twinkling lights over our heads. They're the telegraph poles of the future.

And the asteroid that was poised to ruin my birthday is gonna miss. Ha!
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby phill » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 am

the anti-reflective properties could create thermal changes that adversely affect performance.


sounds like they are not looking at it the right way ( ie more than one )
if they are worried about heat build up from the coating then an etch would work better .. it doesnt stop the reflection but it disperses it in all directions so the majority of the problem is mitigated
they can still experiment on some of the others with non reflective s
just testing one is a bit slack and seems to state they dont give a shit about it
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiny things i have got
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby Necrotic Kingdom » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:57 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:And how will we see that killer asteroid on a collision-path with Earth when the sky is filled with all those twinking points of light blocking our view?
also blocking our communications with space missions higher then LEO. profits before science, and profits before survival.
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby Necrotic Kingdom » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:59 pm

phill wrote:if its only the light pollution they create
no, it's also the physical barrier and radio noise.
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Re: Is this getting out of hand? (14 Feb, 2020)

Postby Kiwiiano » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:31 pm

Few of us have any idea of what the night sky is really like. Some years ago I was cycling the Otago Rail Trail and we stopped at Waipiata, a village so small it doesn’t even appear on the map of Waipiata. We were lodged at an old farmhouse a few km down ‘t road. It had been Nor-westery that day but by 10pm when I took a peek outside, the NW arch cloud had gone and the air was unbelievably clear. The Milky Way was so bright I couldn’t find the Southern Cross, which normally is a guide to where the Milky Way is. The Magellanic Clouds that are often difficult to spot were two bright thumb-prints on the sky.
No wonder towns like Tekapo are striving to retain Dark Sky status. Visitors from any cities anywhere are gob-smacked by what they have been missing all their lives.
~ Kiwiiano
“Nothing will make any sense until you realise that nothing makes any sense!”
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