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Appeal by Astronomers

Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky (IT)

paper_I_arXivpaper_II_(arXiv) -> the FULL paper <- press EN_PDFpress IT_PDF

THIS APPEAL HAS BEEN SIGNED BY

2035+ ASTRONOMERS

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To sign/subscribe follow this link.

This is an international appeal by professional astronomers open for subscription to ask for an intervention from institutions and governments.

Astronomical observations from the ground can be greatly harmed by the ongoing deployment of large satellite fleets in preparation for the next generation of telecommunications.

For centuries the astronomical observations from the ground have led to exceptional progress in our scientific understanding of the Laws of Nature. Currently, the capability of astronomical instrumentation from the ground is endangered by the deployment of satellites fleets.

Through this international appeal and following the same concerns expressed by the International Astronomical Union, IAU [1] and other institutions, we raise a formal request for greater effective protection and safeguard for professional astronomical observations from the ground, guaranteeing the right to observe a sky free from unnecessary artificial polluting sources.

In particular, all the signers, astronomers and collaborators wish to manifest humanly and personally their worry and contrariety to the sky coverage produced by artificial satellites, which represent a dramatic degradation of the scientific content for a huge set of astronomical observations.

The sky degradation is not only due to light pollution in the sky near cities and the most populated areas, but it is also due to artificial satellite fleets crossing and scarring observations with bright parallel streaks/trails at all latitudes.

Astronomers are extremely concerned by the possibility that Earth may be blanketed by tens of thousands of satellites, which will greatly outnumber the approximately 9,000 stars that are visible to the unaided human eye. This is not some distant threat. It’s already happening. The american private company SpaceX has already put 180 of these small satellites, collectively called Starlink, in the sky and plans to constellate the whole sky with about 42,000 satellites (placed at three different quota: 340km, 550km and 1150km). Thus, together with other telecommunication space projects in the near future (i.e. the English OneWeb, the Canadian Telesat, the American Amazon, Lynk and Facebook, the Russian Roscosmos and the Chinese Aerospace Science and Industry corp), there could be over 50,000 small satellites encircling the Earth (at different altitudes) for various telecommunication purposes but mainly delivering internet.

These new satellites are small, mass-produced, and orbit very close to the Earth with the intent to provide speedy internet connection with low-latency signals. But that closeness (~340Km) also makes them more visible, and brighter in the night sky especially when lighted by the Sun (satellites launched by SpaceX, 180 at the present day, are brighter than 99 percent of the population of objects visible by the Earth orbit ).

The current total number of cataloged objects in Earth orbit is less than 20,000 among spacecrafts, rocket bodies, fragmented mission and other related debrids, so with only the nominal Starlink fleet the total number of orbiting objects will triple (see pictures).(*)

In the mid and long term, this will severely diminish our view of the Universe, create more space debris, and, deprive humanity of an unblemished view of the night sky. It has been computed that most of these satellites will be visible to the naked eye (with a brightness between the 3rd and 7th magnitude particularly in the time after sunset and before sunrise, reaching the brightness of the stars in the Ursa Minor constellation (e.g. there are only 172 stars in the whole sky exceeding the expected brightness of Starlink satellites). Thus with 50k satellites the “normality” will be a sky crowded with artificial objects (every one square degree of the sky will have a satellite crawling in it along the whole observing night).

Not only observations with wide-field survey telescopes will be damaged (e.g. LSST [2] capable to scan and perform a survey of the entire sky in three nights or VST [3] with its 268MegaPixels camera and a FOV of 1 square degree or Pan-STARRS [4] with its FOV of 7 square degrees and 1.4 Giga pixels camera, …), but also deep/long exposures with small-field facilities will be unavoidably impaired, see picture and [7].

Considering that large area astronomical observations and sky survey are commonly used in NEO and asteroids monitoring and research related projects to guard the Earth planet from potential impact events, such satellite constellations could negatively impact on the ability to prevent and warn the whole humankind.(*)

Few starlink satellites visible in a mosaic of an astronomical image (NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/NSF/AURA/CTIO/DELVE)

This light pollution is extremely damaging for astronomical observations at all wavelengths. The recent attempt to use non-reflecting paint on the body (i.e. not the solar panels which represents 75% of the reflecting surface) of one of the Starlink satellite (n.1130 DARKSAT), see [8], even if their brightness would reduce to zero (which is impossible since the solar panels, which represent 3/4 of the reflective surface, would remain uncovered), the degradation for scientific observations will remain high for two reasons: 1) the stars and other objects in the universe will be eclipsed, therefore harming time-dependent (variability) studies, and,  2) the reflectivity of surface depends on the observational wavelength, so what becomes dark in one part of the spectrum (e.g. visible) remains bright or shines in other parts of the spectrum  (e.g. infrared or radio).(**)

It should also be noted that during nominal service operations SpaceX expects to dismiss and replace from 2,000 to 8,000 Starlink satellites every year, disintegrating them in the lower atmosphere, with all related issues.(*)

What is not widely acknowledged is that the development of the latest generation telecommunication networks (both from space and from Earth) already has a profound impact on radio-astronomical observations (at all sub-bands): with LEO satellite fleets it is feared that the situation will become unbearable.

In particular, low Earth orbit satellite’s spectral windows identified to communicate with earth stations in the Ku (12-18GHz), Ka (27-40GHz) and V (40-75GHz) bands will overlap with the nominal radio-astronomy bands and so will interfere with ground radio telescopes and radio interferometers, making the radio detectors enter in a non-linear regime in the K band (18.26.5GHz) and in Q band (33-50GHz). This fact will irreparably compromise the whole chain of analysis in those bands with repercussions on our understanding of the Universe, or even, making the astrophysics community blind to these spectral windows.

To aggravate the matter, with the current technological development, the planned density of radio frequency transmitters is impossible to envisage. In addition to millions of new commercial wireless hot spot base stations on Earth directly connected to the ~50,000 new satellites in space, will produce at least 200 billion of new transmitting objects, according to estimates, as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020-2022, and one trillion of objects a few years later. Such a large number of radio-emitting objects could make radio astronomy from ground stations impossible without a real protection made by countries’ safe zones where radio astronomy facility are placed. We wish to avoid that technological development without serious control would turn radio astronomy practice into an ancient extinct science.

FOR ALL THESE REASONS

We, astronomers subscribing to this appeal state THERE IS NO MORE TIME TO DISCUSS, IT IS TIME TO ACT!

ASK GOVERNMENTS, INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES ALL AROUND THE WORLD

  1. to be committed to provide legal protection to ground astronomical facilities in all of the available observation electromagnetic windows.
  2. to put on hold further Starlink launches (and other projects) and carry out an accurate moratorium on all technologies that can negatively impact astronomical observations from space and from the ground, or impact on the scientific, technological and economic investments that each State engages in astrophysical projects.
  3. to put in place a clear evaluation of risks and predictive impacts on astronomical observatories (i.e. loss of scientific and economic value), giving stringent guidelines to private individuals, societies and industries to plan satellite investments without clearly understanding all of the negative effects on outstanding astronomical facilities.
  4. that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and any other national agency be wary of granting permission to ship non-geostationary low-orbit  satellites into orbit or alternatively to limit the authorization of only satellites  being above the airspace of the “home country”.
  5. to demand a worldwide orchestration, where national and international astronomical agencies can impose the right of veto on all those projects that negatively interfere with astronomical outstanding facilities.
  6. to limit and regulate the number of telecommunication satellite fleets to the “strictly necessary number” and to put them in orbit only when old-outdated technology satellites are deorbited, according to the Outer Space Treaty (1967) – the Art IX [5], and the United Nations Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (2018) – guideline 2.2(c) [6], requiring the use of outer space be conducted “so as to avoid [its] harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth” and […omissis…] risks to people, property, public health and the environment associated with the launch, in-orbit operation and re-entry of space objects”.

FINALLY

All of these requests come from the heartfelt concern of scientists arising from threatens to be barred from accessing the full knowledge of the Cosmos and the loss of an intangible asset of immeasurable value for humanity. In this context, all co-signers of this appeal consider ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to put in place all possible measures to protect the night sky right also on the legal side. It would be desirable to adopt contingent and limiting resolutions to be ratified with shared international rules, which must be adopted by all space agencies to ensure protection for astronomical bands observable from the ground. All of this to continue to admire and study our Universe, for as long as possible.

References:

[1]  https://www.iau.org/https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann19035/?lang

[2]  https://www.lsst.orghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_C._Rubin_Observatory

[3]  https://www.eso.org/public/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VLT_Survey_Telescope

[4]  https://panstarrs.stsci.edu/

[5]  https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

[6]  https://www.unoosa.org/res/oosadoc/data/documents/2018/aac_1052018crp/aac_1052018crp_20_0_html/AC105_2018_CRP20E.pdf

[7] Simulated prediction of “only” 12k Starlink satellites in the sky: https://youtu.be/LGBuk2BTvJE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9hQfKd9kfA

[8] Visualization tool to find, plot and search satellite orbits: https://celestrak.com/cesium/orbit-viz.php?tle=/satcat/tle.php?INTDES=2020%2D001&satcat=/pub/satcat.txt&orbits=20&pixelSize=3&samplesPerPeriod=90

This appeal/petition can be signed by professional Astrophysicists & Astronomers, Technologists/Engineers , Collaborators & PHD Students involved in professional astronomical observations.

Note that (*) Such a sentence was added the 13/01/2020.

Note that (**) Such a sentence was added the 16/01/2020.

To sign/subscribe this appeal/petition you can follow this link.

Light pollution from space junk (operating satellites included!)

In the Monthly Notice of the Royal Astronomical Society is possible to find a new accepted manuscript entitled “The proliferation of space objects is a rapidly increasingsource of artificial night sky brightness” of M. Kocifaj, F. Kundracik, C. Barentine, S. Bará, which is possible to find here.

ABSTRACT

The population of artificial satellites and space debris orbiting the Earth imposes non-negligibleconstraints on both space operations and ground-based opticaland radio astronomy. The ongoingdeployment of several satellite ‘mega-constellations’ in the 2020s represents an additional threat thatraises significant concerns. The expected severity of its unwanted consequences is still under study,including radio interference and information loss by satellite streaksappearing in science images. Inthis Letter, we report a new skyglow effect produced by space objects: increased night sky brightnesscaused by sunlight reflected and scattered by that large set of orbiting bodies whose direct radianceis a diffuse component when observed with the naked eye or with low angular resolution photometricinstruments. According to our preliminary estimates, the zenith luminance of this additional lightpollution source may have already reached∼20μcd m−2, which amounts to an approximately 10percent increase over the brightness of the night sky determinedby natural sources of light. This isthe critical limit adopted in 1979 by the International AstronomicalUnion for the light pollutionlevel not to be exceeded at the sites of astronomical observatories.
No Earth’s place can be hidden by reflected light!

The new study published in MNRAS photographs the dramatic and unexpected situation of light pollution from satellites and space debris. The night sky around the world is polluted well beyond the levels recommended by the IAU.

Satellites and debris, even invisible to the naked eye, increase the background brightness of the sky.

We are at levels around 10% of the natural value. Considering the “light pollution maps” at these levels the night sky is in the “blue level”: no more place is currently black, dark gray, light gray and dark blue areas!

Congratulations to the authors Kocifaj, Kundracik, Barentine and Bará for this very important result. Compounding the case is that the predicted megaconstellations have not yet been considered in the study, so this is the picture of the already dramatic current situation, destined to substantially worsen with the launch of tens(hundreds) of thousands of satellites in next years!

Another article can be found here: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/03/study-finds-nowhere-earth-safe-satellite-light-pollution

A great book about Satellites’ Constellations

We would like to ubiquitously advertise the great work of one of our illustrious petitioners prof. Lawrence of the University of edinburgo who in his book entitled “Losing the Sky” delves into the serious problem of satellites’ constellations and the impact that these will produce at 360 degrees on our society.

Human unreasonableness, which does not take into account the harmful effects of some choices, pursuing as the unique objective the profit of multinationals, has its roots in the same modus operandi responsible for much worse devastation, such as climate changes & global warming as well as the pollution of the seas and atmosphere, causing irreparably the extinction of a large slice of flora and fauna present on this planet.

Even “Losing the Sky” represents, like other themed publications, a desperate scream in front of the awareness of the imminent crash not only of a profession, but of the whole humanity!

Rebelling is our duty not only as scientists but above all as human beings!

We also point out the foreword to the book of dr. Brian May, our myth! We’d be very proud if Brian would read and sign our “Appeal by Astronomers” petition as well as support our legal action initiative to block the deployment of these satellite fleets to the US FCC.

How to confuse GRBs with Satellites flashes!

Here is an important comment from Tomasz Kwiatkowski about a new interesting paper:

“There is an interesting paper on astro-ph, here is the link:

https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.13164

which shows how a satellite can be mistaken for a GRB. Should we soon have to introduce a new stage of the reduction of observations: de-satellizing?”

The Paper

Title:

GN-z11-flash was a signal from a man-made satellite not a gamma-ray burst at redshift 11

Authors:

Michał J. Michałowski, Krzysztof Kamiński, Monika K. Kamińska, Edwin Wnuk

Abstract:

Long gamma-ray bursts (GRB), explosions of very massive stars, provide crucial information on stellar and galaxy evolution, even at redshifts z ~ 8 – 9.5, when the Universe was only 500-600 million years old. Recently, during observations of a galaxy at a redshift of z ~ 11 (400 million years after the Big Bang), a bright signal, named GN-z11-flash, shorter than 245 s was detected and interpreted as an ultraviolet flash associated with a GRB in this galaxy, or a shock-breakout in a Population III supernova. Its resulting luminosity would be consistent with that of other GRBs, but a discussion based on probability arguments started on whether this is instead a signal from a man-made satellite or a Solar System object. Here we show a conclusive association of GN-z11-flash with Breeze-M upper stage of a Russian Proton rocket on a highly elliptical orbit. This rules out GN-z11-flash as the most distant GRB ever detected. It also implies that monitoring of a larger sample of very high redshift galaxies is needed to detect such distant GRBs. This also highlights the importance of a complete database of Earth satellites and debris, which can allow proper interpretation of astronomical observations.

In Particular:

Brightness of Breeze-M debris as a function of distance from the observer from ourarchival observations with the RBT/PST2 telescope with an infrared cut-off filter (see Meth-ods). At the distance of around 15,000 km, corresponding to the distance for the MOSIFREobservations, the brightness was∼9.2mag, consistent with the MOSFIRE measurementtaking into account phase angle differences and the angular speed of the satellite.
The trajectory of Breeze-M debris in the field of view of MOSFIRE/Keck during theGN-z11-flash detection. The trajectory for the orbit corresponding to the date of the obser-vation is shown as a thick black line with1,2, and3σconfidence intervals shown as shadedregions. The trajectories for orbit elements calculated for days up to one week before and after the MOSIFRE observations are shown as green lines. The blue rectangles correspondto the positions and sizes of the slits used during the MOSFIRE observations. The position ofGN-z11 is shown as the black cross. Within1σof the best orbital model there are solutionscrossing the slit corresponding to GN-z11-flash and missing all other slits.

Chinese Constellations ready to go!

Geely is a new Chinese LEO constellation of an unknown number of newly authorized satellites (+/- 500 satellites shipped per year).

In few years the Low Earth Orbit could be totally saturated by artificial satellites.

Usually we tend to focus on the US constellations, but there are many more LEO constellations planned in China than currently authorized by the US FCC.

After all, the Chinese also have their own FCC which is called China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), so they do as they please with the authorizations.

Here are the chinese principal constellations:

  • The major governmental LEO constellation CASC called “Hongyan”
  • A secondary government LEO constellation CASIC called “Honyun” and “Xingyun” are currently planned in China;
  • then there is a third constellation called “GW”, which is not clear what it will do with 13 thousand satellites
  • another constellation called “Galaxy Space” for 5G in low orbit.
  • To these we add the Geely constellation for a more accurate GPS service than the current one in low orbit.

More info here: https://spacenews.com/automaker-geely-gains-approval-for-satellites-for-self-driving-constellation/

The Healthy Heavens Trust Initiative, HHTI legal action (of which our SAS Foundation is part) tends to push the inadmissibility of a national agency such as the US FCC to authorize such projects with global implications. But clearly agencies like the Chinese, Russian and Indian ones remain out of this discussion for now, even if a possible resolution would be easily extensible to them.

We will not get out of it until international laws will avoid that national countries to approve with their agencies and commissions this kind of projects, which must be exclusively coordinated and harmonized at international level.

In this contest it is good news that astronomical community is moving in a strenght politically way in order to delegate this difficult task to UNOOSA / United Nations, but it would also be appropriate to indicate a maximum number of satellites beyond which access to the sky will be compromises (and not just for our profession).

If we do not put / propose this ceiling as astronomers (e.g. a maximum of 10 thousand simultaneous orbiting satellites) it is likely that the United Nations, if and when they get this role, will end up putting an agreement on that one, which the national agencies have identified as their satellite’s infrastructure minimal target in order not to compromise the competition of the telecommunications giants.

And in a certain sense the astronomical community will have implicitly given its green light to whatever will be sent downstream of all this.

PS: Some scholars in the field argue that setting a number of satellites in LEO as a ceiling, although we shouldn’t be the one to identify this number, could play a much more prolific role in terms of international cooperation on a global public utility infrastructure and not only aimed at the business and competition of a few private companies and corporations. Therefore, the proposition of such an international action / coordination is desirable, especially if proposed by a strong and authoritative actor such as the international astronomical community; this could act as a driving force for this process of sustainable and cooperated access to the low orbit, preventing future damage instead of focusing on their minimization.

Hoping that all the boxes go to the right place we will continue to inform all of us about related news.

NEWS: SATELLITE WARS

we will soon be surrounded by space debrids and garbage… thanks to monopoly consolidation

Amazon asks the US FCC to be authorized to put its constellation (Kuiper) of satellites into orbit made up of more than 3000 satellites located at 590, 630, 610 km of altitude.

FCC answers affirmatively as long as the new constellation does not interfere with the operation of the previously authorized constellations.

  • First of all we have to claim and warry on potential monopoly.
  • Secondly if Kuiper does not have to interfere with STARLINK and / or OneWeb and / or Iridium, then we ask why these latest constellations were authorized (by FCC) despite interference with radio telescopes and all astronomical facilities on the ground? TWO WEIGHTS AND TWO SIZES used as needed!

At this point SpaceX (e.g. STARLINK) asks FCC to change the orbits of its constellation to hinder the authorization and commissioning of Kuiper …

Amazon rebels to that … infighting between giants …

…and the rest of humanity remains crushed and dishonored by the fact that a US agency cannot ILLEGALLY claim the right to authorize certain monsters surrounding all of us!

STARLINK, ONEWEB, KUIPER, SAMSUNG, ATHENA, KEPLER, TELSAT, LYNK, LEOSAT, VIASAT etc … THEY ALL represent a stock of 80,000 illegal satellites if authorized by the FCC!

Politics & Compromises do not lead to any benefit for astronomy

THE PROPOSED MITIGATION OPERATIONS are not effective and only for the optical / NIR bands and do not take into account RFI and other branches of ground astrophysics.

Shortly, next April, the proposals for the mitigation of the damaging effects of satellites’ constellations will be presented to COPUOS, the Committee for the Pacific Use of Outer Space of the UNOOSA Office for Outer Space Affairs of the United Nations by various commissions of experts (IAU and ESO in primis).

We would like to rejoice that ASTRONOMIC POLICY has finally taken the right step, and instead we find ourselves having to further ascertain, that these are requests totally inadequate to the context, which will lead to nothing but to legitimize the private satellite constellations for TLC use, a disaster announced that we have been “claiming” for almost a year, which we will soon collide with!

We have already talked extensively about the October 2020 Online Workshop entitled “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society”, which had a large participation (~ 950 subscribers and 200-300 participants in the daily sessions) and produced final summary document (in internal jargon “The Book”) from which a summary containing the main recommendations was extracted in the COPUOS format called Conference Room Paper (CRP).

The CRP will be presented at the next COPUOS Scientific and Technical SubCommittee meeting next April. IAU is leading the way in carrying out these requests with various COPUOS delegations, who will ask to support the CRP or even become co-presenters.

NOW let’s see what actions they would like to implement for the mitigation of the satellite constellations.

In a nutshell, these are 9 Mitigation PROPOSALS, which are listed below:

M1 Fewer satellites as possible.

Well expressed in the first point: “no possible combination of mitigation can limit or make sustainable the impact of megaconstellations on astrophysics from the ground if tens of thousands of LEO satellites end up orbiting the globe, worries increase if there were 40-50-100 thousand satellites in LEO. All the further mitigation points below become inexorably limited and lose effectiveness with the increase in the number of orbiting satellites. In summary, LIMITING proliferation to a minimum would in fact mean coordinating at the international level ONLY a SINGLE strategic satellite infrastructure *** for all nations *** of the globe, hopefully not exceeding a few (less than 10) thousands of satellites. In doing this, the supermega commission of experts clearly forgot to indicate a maximum number (ROOF) of satellites beyond which one should not go.

It is clear that in this context the legal possibility comes into play (WHICH MUST NOT ABSOLUTELY EXIST), that a State / Nation delegates to its AGENCY (e.g. US FCC) the task of authorizing these satellite constellations for reasons of private monopoly (or strategic military). In short, inherent in the first point is the reason why no combination of mitigating works will ever be successful without acting on the LEGAL / INTERNATIONAL prohibition of sending new satellites / fleets into orbit for these purposes. We return to the need to carry out coordinated legal actions, which no national or international governative entity has ever taken and the necessity of which was already known a year ago.

A year spent on lectures, simulations and useless chats and conferences!

M2 – darken satellites in each phase of their orbits

This point also clashes with circumstances: you can darken and / or try to darken what you want, but in the end the solar panels must be and remain by definition not darkened and they, alone, represent 4/5 of the reflecting surface of the satellite.

Thinking to adaptively orienting these panels in order to avoid reflections is quite unrealistic (although desirable), but in any case it will never avoid the very harmful phenomenon of flares. (PS: Some of the satellite commission have candidly stated that SpaceX has promised there will be no flares and if SpaceX promises it we are in an iron barrel!)

This choice has already proved to be a harbinger of time wasting for the astronomical community and, at the same time, taking time for the TLC companies, which for a year continued undisturbed to send satellites into orbit, with the promise of texts on darkening and in this way they satisfied the complacent astronomers, who could say they were collaborating with the US giants of the WWW: yesterday was the Dark-Sat (1st EPIC FAIL: with just half mag decrease and satellite overheating); today the Visor-Sat (2nd EPIC FAIL: decrease of just over one mag on average).

The only thing that can be avoided (perhaps) is to have an apparent visual magnitude such as to make the satellites visible to the unaied eye at night, while for astronomical instruments, astrophotography and medium-wide ground based telescopes there is no escape!

A suitable darkening solution would exist only if the solar panels were completely removed from the satellite’s body, but, although Musk has already proposed the accommodation of plutonium as a fuel for him satellites, this possibility in our opinion would be discarded a priori since life average of these satellites is relatively short and therefore the radioactive material would simply be scattered on the Earth’s surface upon re-entry / deorbiting, creating other kink of problems.

M3 – have a fainter magnitude than 7th (better if 8th)

This solution reconnects to point M2 but with a technical limit calculated by the CrossTalk of the LSST cameras, which would be the most affected telescope (to be proved!). There is no acceptable limit magnitude for an artificial source of photons, in any case it would be masked and eliminated from the analysis, so the problem is not only the cost of computing overheads, but, above all, the possibility of having calibration images (at sunrise and sunset) suitable for the use on dark sky images for the pixel-to-pixel calibration and to photometrically correct those taken during the night.

with the current scheduling and authorizations of just STARLINK@SPACEX constellation and its related 42k-sats grid in the sky, there is no possibility to obtain a scientifically calibrated and valid (ie properly calibrated) observations with medium-large field of view telescopes. So we prove that there is no need at all to set a roof on limit magnitude, but to substantially put a brake on the number, or to legally prevent the launch of further satellites urgently.

M4 – LEO satellites on orbits as low as possible

Here we play Risk! It is true, indeed very true, that the lower the satellites are, the less they will be affected by solar illumination since the longer, proportionally, the time will be, that they will remain covered by the Earth’s shadow cone (i.e. not directly exposed to solar radiation, which is the moment when they are most luminous),

BUT the closer they are, the greater the replacement rate due to drag with the upper layers of the atmosphere.

FURTHERMORE the closer they are, the shorter the electromagnetic radiation cone or the horizon line, which they can use to connect with ground stations (ie the closer they are, the more satellites will be needed to cover the entire Earth’s surface).

ALSO AGAIN the closer they are, the brighter they are (not only in optical bands but also in RFs) and, although their presence is more perceptible during twilight (sunrise and sunset), the possibility of carrying out and taking calibration images (free from satellites) such as skyflats, given the increasing crowding of the sky at twilight, will be almost zero during sunset/sundawn and their high brightness.

FINALLY the closer the satellites will be, since the greater their number necessary to cover the same surface on the ground, the greater the irradiation in the radio will be on average (although it is quite clear the expendability for astronomical institutions of the astronomical radio facilities from the ground since in one year they managed to negotiate only these mitigation hypotheses for optical bands).

M5 – M6 – (Establish?) A world-wide community that accurately manages and locates a DB of all the satellites, keeping it up-to-date so as to know precisely where they are at all times and Satellite tracking as a public service

This request is legitimate, as with any public enemy, to know where he/it is at all times. The problem is that these constellations will have an autonomous guidance system to better position individual satellites in the grid. Perhaps instead of referring to a scheduling tool, which looks more like a palantir crystal sphere than a calendar of ephemerids, we are thinking how those who propose these actions perhaps have never made a real observation to a large telescope facility: to have the best time scheduling is fundamental for good telescope observation, hours and minutes are so closely scheduled that thinking of having to wait for the passage of a swarm of satellites is equivalent to throwing an unspecified amount of dollars/euros (with 4-5 zeros) every observing night.

Did they really gather around a committee table to propose these actions like the italian “Gianburrasca”? Localization is naive to think of it as a public service, especially considering that a large portion (although this is yet to be defined) of these satellites will be used for military scopes (possibly as spy satellites and other more worrying functions, see the nuclear warheads guide B61-12 launched by the new F35-A, [3]). We doubt that there is interest and willingness to track these satellites instant by instant.

M7 – M8 and M9 (Development of?) Advanced algorithms to avoid bright satellites, mask them, make predictive models according to the orbit and geographic location of the observatory and end-to-end support for impact simulations, that the researchers will have / will suffer

These requests / proposals are very hard to understand in coparison with facts! Good to say that observations should be done where there are no satellites, but not praticable with the scheduled estimated satellites density in few years. To consider also that already today in medium-large field fields you can find some of those sats in the field of view.

To propose something new they say that to develop these advanced algorithms it is possible to make use of AI. We would like to understand why we (astronomers) have to develop AI algorithms (and above all who should do it since, judging from the proposed points, here the premise of the “A” is missing!).

They also forget to say that it’s a lifetime that there are algorithms to mask streaks, just parallelize and apply BUT above all if images are damaged scientific photon content is missed forever, no AI can retrieve it back! So the first problem is not cleaning up the images, which can be done with a little more (perhaps a lot) of work, but the fact that this happens downstream of the reckless actions of a private individual, who decides TODAY to make his pig comfortable and the only thing that the world astronomical community decides to do is: “ok let’s agree with him so as not to impact too much and continue to make him comfortable even if half of our profession and facilities will be overwhelmed!”.

No governative institution has taking action to stop these individuals, but only spent time and money to evaluate… OK let’s evaluate… and then…? Then these individuals will turn on their services and we, to simulate and chat in conferences, we will no longer be able to stop it from destroying us! Great Pyrrhic Victory!

We close by commenting on this last point M9, allowing ourselves to change the term “End-to-end” with simply “the end”, since this is THE END of ground based astrophysics if this is the official position of astronomical institutions!

We say THE END because these 9 points are the most important actions that the greatest astronomical (and political) minds of the astronomic world have decided to ASK the United Nations to protect the Astrophysics in the World.

So we know that even if the United Nations decides to approve these guidelines proposed by IAU, ESO and others, in 2-3 years the terrestrial observeratories will stop working and producing science (perhaps some calendar images and some pretty pictures), or just work for years to clean images instead of make science with.

Of course we will continue to do astrophysics from the Space and maybe the great STARLINK tycoon will also put a radio telescope on the Moon or Mars…! Well sure… of Radio Astronomy from Earth we will put a stone on it!

This is why we say and continue to argue that the ONLY hope of getting something is the inhibition legal action directed by our 5G ILAN – International Legal Action Network to which the Healthy Heavens Trust Initiative has joined and whose our International Appeal by Astronomers (Appeal by Astronomers) has become a party to the dispute with the creation of the SAS Foundation (Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky Foundation) to represent thousands of astronomers all over the world, who say NO and ask for a STRONG INHIBITORY ACTION against this mess made in the USA!

References:

[1] Dark and Quiet Skyies Book: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vWtEro89qKN2o1KHj1wjmH-9ikEK9fqT/view?usp=sharing

[2] Dark and Quiet Skyies Book (satellites’constellations report): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BJ-k1vUSTXgSQJq1nr-dPNSgF2ssg8UM/view?usp=sharing

[3] B61-12 launched by the new F35-A: https://ilmanifesto.it/la-bomba-e-pronta-tra-breve-in-italia/

…and a new Foundation is born!

A NEW Foundation for the preservation of the astronomical sky is being established.

The name is “Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky Foundation”, SAS Foundation.

The name is “Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky Foundation”, SAS Foundation.

Here is the under-construction official page:

https://astronomersappeal.wordpress.com/safeguarding-the-astronomical-sky-foundation-sas-foundation/

The Appeal by Astronomers received many adhesions (more than 2000), but we found ourselves unable to include the more strictly amateur associations, which are also heavily penalized by these deployments.
Fortunately, a legal action called Healthy Heavens Trust Initiative has started few months ago, which is currently suing the American FCC in American federal courts of justice.

From the requests by these lawyers, the Worldwide Astronomical Community need to have a legal representation to face off in these judgments; such representation should be structured and cohesive (not only therefore professionals, but also amateur realities and even environment associations interested).

We decided for a non-lucrative ONG Foundation that we called “Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky Foundation” (SAS Foundation) as a physiological and natural continuation of the Appeal by Astronomers movement.

We therefore wondered if you would like to join us as an association and support this initiative by increasing the critical mass and strength (and impact) of our protest.

Clearly it is a voluntary organization so NO FEE is requested!

If the answer is affirmative, you can join us as association / founding member, so please send us back your written intention (email) to join us and the personal information of the association in order to be included in the Deed of Constitution as Shareholder Associated of the Foundation.

To Join our Foundation you can simply declare your intention within the official email of your association and indicate these informations:

  1. Name of association
  2. Website or social page adrress
  3. Zip Address of the registered office
  4. Contact Email
  5. Representative contact person

Observed and Evaluated light pollution reduction of VisorSat: a 2nd Epic Fail!

We report here the latest article on observed Starlink’s Satellites: The Brightness of VisorSat-Design Starlink Satellites of Anthony Mallama which concludes the following:

The mean of 430 visual magnitudes of VisorSats adjusted to a distance of 550-km (the operational altitude) is 5.92 +/-0.04.

This is the characteristic brightness of these satellites when observed at zenith.

So VisorSats average 1.29 magnitudes fainter than the original-design Starlink satellites.

Thus it can hide most of naked eye satellites observations, but it can not preserve astro-photography nor large and mid-area observations of professional instruments and telescopes.

Nothing is really changed with VisorSat, as well as for prior DarkSat for astronomy, so at present we can conclude that everything proposed (and realized) by a commercial company is just to give a little sop to the astronomical community in order to continue the rape of low Earth orbit undisturbed.
Whoever allows it commits an epic fail and in a certain sense it should be considered an accomplice of this unsustainable drift.

LET’S STOP IT TOGETHER!

Reference:

[1]: “The Brightness of VisorSat-Design Starlink Satellites” https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.00374.pdf

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