Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

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Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed May 26, 2021 6:40 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2021/0526.shtml

Take a good look at tonight's total lunar eclipse. Future generations may never get to see such an event without the added light pollution caused by tens of thousands of LEO satellites fogging the skies.

It is widely acknowledged that such satellites, Starlink's in particular, are making scientific observations of the universe from ground-based telescopes increasingly difficult.

So why are we continuing along this path?

Is giving people in remote areas the ability to watch funny cat videos on Facebook more important than the science that helps us unravel the mysteries of the universe?

I guess so.

Current generations may be the last to ever enjoy the static skies of night. In a decade or two's time, most of the stars will be quite animated instead.
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby Kiwiiano » Wed May 26, 2021 7:16 am

The night skies are stuffed for a very high proportion of the planet already, from light pollution. Even on clear moonless nights here in Christchurch I can see the Southern Cross and Pointers, but only a few dozen other stars and planets. Contrast that with a night while on the Otago Rail Trail. We were billeted a few km outside of Waipiata, a ‘locality’ so small it barely appears on the maps of Waipiata. We’d had a nor-wester with a solid layer of cloud all day but it cleared at dusk, so I wandered out at about 10pm to check the ‘seeing’. It was shattering! The Southern Cross is actually buried in the Milky Way and I couldn’t find the bloody thing that night, the galaxy was so bright. The Magellanic Clouds, normally vague patches of light if you know where to look were two bright thumb-prints on the sky. Everywhere, stars I had never seen before. Visible because there was absolutely no light pollution, a problem if you are in any sort of built-up area, even in Central Otago. I recall be disappointed even at Tekapo, supposedly a ‘Dark Sky’ location. Crap! It’s not a dark sky until you can’t see any lights anywhere and if there are, there are wardens to go around hollering “PUT THAT #@%$&* LIGHT OUT!!!”
~ Kiwiiano
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby phill » Wed May 26, 2021 9:52 am

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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: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed May 26, 2021 10:29 am

Starlink already has a surprising number of sats over NZ at any given time and several ground-stations as well.
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby hagfish » Wed May 26, 2021 11:44 am

The thread on Geekzone indicates that - if you don't have access to fibre/VDSL - Starlink is a viable option in NZ, provided you aren't relying on 'always-on' connectivity. Gaming and Zoom; maybe not. Grabbing your email and keeping files synced; absolutely.

As Kiwiiano said, the 'night sky' is a thing of the past for most of us. I camped atop a high-point in a forest park a couple of months ago. The night sky was astonishing. At home, it's an orange blur. I think for most city-dwellers, the addition of a Dyson Sphere of satellites presents no particular loss. And those out in the wop-wops can finally get a decent connection.
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby Malcolm » Wed May 26, 2021 11:47 am

Apparently the ground stations are not functional yet. One is just a fenced off area in a paddock so far. Another they recently built a shed.
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby paulw » Wed May 26, 2021 3:54 pm

A "blood supermoon" Quick find some virgins and sacrifice them so that the big Taniwha moon god doesn't get us .. It could be the end of the world if the news media has it's way.
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Re: Lunar eclipse, for the last time? (26 May, 2021)

Postby Perry » Wed May 26, 2021 5:53 pm

paulw wrote:A "blood supermoon" Quick find some virgins and sacrifice them so that the big Taniwha moon god doesn't get us .. It could be the end of the world if the news media has it's way.
Would Virgin Atlantic qualify?
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