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Losing the Night Sky

Posted: Thu May 27, 2021 5:43 pm
by JohnM
The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh are hosting an event to discuss the impact of the mega satellite constellations on both professional & Amateur astronomy on the 15th June 2021 at 19:30 BST.

As you will know Starlink will have frequent satellites passing with a brightness of around mag 3.5 at your zenith. That is only slightly dimmer than the satellite chains you may have seen following launches. One of the reasons they will be brighter than previous forecasts is that they will be operating them in a lower orbit than originally planned to reduce the latency of the internet signals.

The Meeting will be hosted by Prof. Andy Lawrence and the newly (today !) appointed Astronomer Royal for Scotland Prof. Catherine Heymans.

The event will be broadcast live on You Tube, it is important that people watch to show their concerns.

The link to details of the meeting is at ... -the-sky/ . I will be there and hope to see a significant number of SPA members in the audience.


John Murrell FRAS, Member ASE

Re: Losing the Night Sky

Posted: Thu May 27, 2021 7:15 pm
by stella
Your data is clearly based on the "Chicken Little" hypothesis.
Last night I observed 17 Starlinks, only one of which (19-74AF) reached a magnitude of +3.5
The others had magnitudes clustered around +6 - just one-tenth of the brightness of your
scaremongering prediction.

Re: Losing the Night Sky

Posted: Thu May 27, 2021 7:26 pm
by JohnM
Stella - the figures I quoted are at your zenith. At lower declination the satellites are further away so the brightness falls as the inverse square of the distance to the satellite. When the constellations are launched there will be several near your zenith at any time. You can see the current position of all the satellites on Heavens Above.

In addition a lot of sattelites at present are in a higher orbit but they are going to put most of the new satellites in lower orbits.

John Murrell