15 A point of light will soon be a satellite!

If the sky is getting brighter and brighter, it is not because of the stars but because of the mega-stars of the satellites scattered there. So much so that an astronomer has predicted that soon there will be a satellite within fifteen points of light in the night sky. But what does it matter, since many of us in urban areas no longer see the stars illuminating the sky.

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I am chatting with my neighbors outside my farm in Saskatchewan whom I have invited to look up at the sky. Nocturnal With me Telescope. Wonderful and after wonder Saturn’s ring And light that has traveled through space for more than 20 million years Andromeda Galaxy In order to reach our point of view, our conversation inevitably deviates towards it ExtremeAbout our teleworking companies and complaints Internet In rural areas. My neighbor mentioned while passing that he had just changed suppliers Star link.

I look up and notice a bright satellite moving across the sky. This is probably one Star linkSince they now represent about half 4,000 operational satellites And that they are particularly bright. I took a deep breath and thought about how we would all pay for Starlink’s internet access.

I don’t blame my neighbors for their choice. Here, like many rural areas in North America, no Not likely to have much access On the Internet, and given that many people are working and studying from home during the epidemic, we want to do everything we can to make our lives easier.

However, I know how much the cost can be. My article will appear The Astronomical Journal Gifts Forecast the night sky If the satellite companies continue their current projects. I also know that because of the geometry of light The sun And Orbit Selected, 50e Parallel to the north, where I live, would be the most severely damaged part of the world.

In the absence of control, I know that in the near future a 15 visible out points There will be a satellite in the sky moving unbearably, and not A star. It would be disastrous for astronomical research and would completely change the night sky around the world.

To determine how much the night sky will be affected by the reflected sunlight from future satellite megaconstructions, we have developed a Free computer model To predict Brightness Satellites can be seen from different parts of the world at different times of the night and at different times Season. We also made one Easy web app Based on this simulation.

Illumination and simulation of the number of satellites during a full night parallel to 50ᵉ north of the summer solstice. Sam Lawler

Our model uses 65,000 satellites in the orbit of four megaconstriction companies: SpaceX Starlink and Amazon Kuiper (United States), Oneweb (UK) and Sternet / GW (China). We have calibrated to match our simulations Telescopic measurements of the Starlink satelliteBecause they are by far the most numerous.

According to our research, we will not be able to survive this new light pollution from satellites anywhere on Earth, not even at the North Pole.

Star link Since its first launch it has made some progress in dimming its satellite light, but Most are still visible to the naked eye. Our simulations show that from anywhere on Earth, in any season, we will be able to see ten or even hundreds of satellites for at least an hour before sunrise and after sunset.

Currently, escaping from it is relatively easy Light pollution The city will benefit from the starry sky when camping or going to the chalet, but, according to our research, we will not be able to escape from this new one. Light pollution Satellites anywhere in the world, not even at the North Pole.

The hardest places on Earth will be 50 degrees north and south, near cities like London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Kiev, Vancouver, Calgary and my home. A. UttarayanTo these LatitudeAbout 200 satellites will be visibleEyes Naked all night

I study dynamics Orbital Of Kuiper beltThe afterlife consists of small bodies that lie Neptune. My research is based on broad field and long term images Duration Exhibition To discover and follow these small objects Learn more about our history The solar system.

Telescope observation, which is essential for our knowledge The worldIs going to be Extremely difficult To be successful due to uncontrolled development of space.

Astronomers are developing Reduction strategyBut they will require the time and effort that megaconstriction companies should anticipate.

Environmental costs

The Internet by Starlink may seem cheaper than other options in rural areas, but that’s your reason Lots of cost offloads. One of them is the air pollution caused by hundreds of launches Rocket This system needs to be built and maintained.

Each installation of the satellite sends rocket parts and other debris onto one Lower Earth orbits Already crowded, which increases the risk Collision. A part of these Space debris Will eventually return to Earth, and will be the regions of the planet with the highest density of satellites The risk of impact is high.

Starlink plans to replace 42,000 satellites after five years of operation, which would require an average of 25 satellites or about six tons of material to be de-orbited per day. The mass of these satellites will not disappear – it will scatter in the upper layersAtmosphere. As satellites are mainly formedAlloy OfAluminumThey risk particle formationAlumina Evaporates in the upper atmosphere, which can destroy Ozone And causes global warming.

This question has not yet been studied in depth because the orbits of the lower earth are not subject to any environmental laws.

The rule of the sky

At the moment, the orbit of the lower Earth, where all these satellites are expected to evolve, is almost uncontrollable. There is no standard for air pollution due to light pollution, air pollution caused by launches, re-entry into the atmosphere. Collision between satellites.

These megaconstructions may not be financially viable in the long run and the speed of internet access may be significantly reduced if many users connect at the same time or if it rains. Yet satellites are now being launched at an alarming rate, and they will not erase the damage to the security of the night sky, atmosphere, and lower Earth orbit, even if the companies go bankrupt.

There is no doubt that in many places people in rural and remote areas have lagged behind in the development of internet usage. But there are many more options that do not incur such high costs. We cannot accept global access rates Night skyWhich people have been able to observe and with whom they have been able to connect since the beginning of their existence.

If The company has collaborated Instead of competition, there may be far fewer satellites in orbit. Changing the design of satellites can make them much fainter, which will reduce their impact on the night sky. We should not choose between astronomy and the Internet.

However, without regulation that change is needed, or a stronger one Stress Our point of view is that consumers show the importance of the night sky They Soon it will change forever.

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