Will ruin the astronomy of a constellation of microsatellites?

Many astronomers are concerned about the plans of the individual companies run tens of thousands of microsatellites. Scientists fear that the new objects in sight will interfere with the telescopes. Now experts find out, whether justified these fears.

Details are set out in the scientific article published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

the Authors proceeded from the statements of the companies, SpaceX, Amazon, and other on OneWeb plans to launch more than 26 thousand microsatellites. They examined the possible influence of these devices on observations in optical and infrared telescopes.

Explain that in the heat of the night all of these satellites will be in the shadow of the Earth, so the Sun will not illuminate, and they will not be visible. But in the twilight of a constellation of micro-satellites capable of creating astronomers tangible problems.

As the experts found out, the hardest hit tools with extra-wide field of view. For example, in adverse conditions will get built Observatory named Vera Rubin (Vera C. Rubin Observatory).

Note that this is a huge the 8.4-meter telescope, can quickly capture images of large areas of sky, will be indispensable for observation of different kinds of flares flyby of potentially hazardous asteroids and other transient phenomena. Meanwhile, by calculations of authors, first and last hours of the night, the satellites will fall 30-40 per cent of its personnel.

by the Way, on the website of the Observatory are even more harsh assessment: spacecraft gets 30% of all images and almost every image made at dusk. Project staff fear that the observation program is for ten years, will have to extend for four years (!), to compensate for the damage.

the micro-Satellites will interfere with the observations of telescopes with ultra-wide field of view.Photo by ESO/M. Zamani.

the Instruments with a narrower field of view not too will reduce its effectiveness. In the first and last hours night expected losses at the level of 1-3%.

Astronomers help that about 95% of all microsatellites in the twilight will not be above 30-40 degrees above the horizon (astronomical observations are usually conducted above).

just after sunset to hundreds of micro-satellites will be visible to the naked eye, but only about ten of them will be above 30 degrees above the horizon. When approaching midnight, they will cease to be visible.

In General we can say that under significant threat only observations with ultra-wide field of view. But they are extremely important for scientists, and they are not going to put up with the evolving situation.

As noted in the press release of the study, the astronomers aim to bring the problem to the attention of international organizations. They state that the time has come to develop a regulatory framework that would allow satellites and telescopes to coexist without interfering with each other.

for Example, an effective measure could be as simple as painting vehicles with black paint, so they are weaker than the reflected light.

By the way, earlier “Conduct.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) wrote about the launch of the “star of humanity”, by perturbing the astronomers.

Text: To.Science