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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

2010+ ASTRONOMERS

VIEW SIGNATURES

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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.

Let’s GO ON with PANTOMIME

Another workshop on the satellites’ constellations is planned at the end of the month (Monday, 29 June and Tuesday, 30 June) and we receive the invitation to join the day after the 9th STARLINK’s LAUNCH from Cape Canaveral  (now about 540 sats in LEO orbit).

workshop

We are now convinced that every international meeting is the excuse to delay a due intervention and allow further launches to the US company.
We must remember that once 1000 Starlink satellites will be in orbit
, the internet signal will be turned on to the United States of America and in this situation it will be almost impossible to stop further launches and deployment of this constellation.
From that moment on, the astronomical community will no longer be taken into consideration by the american society and the only thing we can appeal to will be to quantify the suffered economic damage.

Other concerns are related to the latest announce of use and synergy of the STARLINK infrastructure to serve the US military force:


More than a year has passed since the problem emerged and apart from contracting for an ineffective shielding paint (DARKSAT) and currently keeping astronomers occupied to measure the brightness of satellites with a special visor (VISORSAT), the immeasurable damage to the ground radio astronomy ***someone*** has totally forgotten to take into account!
If observing astronomers follow us in this blog, we are sorry to announce that we are becoming an extinted species and in acknowledging this we must thank the immobility of astronomical agencies and institutions all over the world.

ANDROMEDA_medium
A picture from APOD of Andromeda Galaxy in a crowded sky, by Kees Scherer, october 2019, 223×300 second exposures made without fancy statistical cosmetic outlier removal.


We go ahead with our legal action in the hope of getting something to safeguard our profession, in the meantime our 2000 signatures of the appeal have been delivered to the Italian parliament with the request, expectation and hope, that at least the politics and diplomacy will begin to ask itself some questions that it seems the astronomers have forgotten to ask.

We kindly encourage subscribers all over the world to do the same with their parlament and governance.

LET’S PLAY WITH PHOTOSHOP!

ENGLISH:

Starting from Real Today’s Picture (with 420satellites) of Zdenek Bardon with a Nikon D810a and Optics ZEISS Otus 1,4/100 6x120secs, we predict how we will admire the night sky when 12k satellites will be displaed in LEO at 550Km altitude and how the same picture would be when other 30k satellites at 340Km (total 42k satellites) will be displaced in orbit! Please to note corresponding flares considering 2 flares in 12 minutes for 420 satellites. Images are just created copying and pasting satellite trails in the original image, so please consider only a graphical representation, not a rigorous computed simulation of the sky! It is clear tha predicted flares are highly underestimated! STILL WE WANT TO MINIMIZE THE IMPACT OF SATELLITES’ CONSTELLATIONS FOR ASTRONOMY?

ITALIAN:

Partendo daall’ immagine reale odierna (con 420 satelliti) di Zdenek Bardon fatta utilizzando una Nikon D810a e ottica ZEISS Otus 1,4/100 6 x120sec, cerchiamo di prevedere come ammireremo il cielo notturno quando saranno dislocati 12.000 satelliti in orbita LEO a 550 Km di altitudine e come sarebbe la stessa foto quando altri satelliti 30.000 satelliti saranno posizionati a 340 Km di altitudine (per un totale di 42.000 satelliti in orbita)! Si prega di notare i flares corrispondenti considerando che vi sono 2 flares in 12 minuti per soli 420 satelliti. Le immagini sono state create facendo copy&paste del reale pattern satellitare osservato oggi (con 420 satelliti), quindi si prega di considerare questa come una semplice ed approssimativa rappresentazione grafica, non certo una rigorosa simulazione del cielo! È chiaro che i flares previsti sono altamente sottovalutati nelle immagini! ANCORA VOGLIAMO MINIMIZZARE L ‘ IMPATTO DELLE COSTELLAZIONI PER TELECOMUNICAZIONI SULL’ ASTRONOMIA?

PRESS RELEASE: APPEAL BY ASTRONOMERS confirms the commitment given to the 2000 signatory colleagues to bring to completition our inhibition action on satellites’ constellations!

PRESS RELEASE:
APPEAL BY ASTRONOMERS confirms the commitment given to the 2000 signatory colleagues to bring to completition our inhibition action on satellites’ constellations
!

Yesterday (April 27, 2020) we attended the zoom video conference entitled “Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (Astro2020): Optical Interference from Satellite Constellations Meeting” and attended the various speakers’ speeches.
We immediately understood the political cut of the conference and the clumsy attempt to minimize the damage caused by the constellations instead of rolling up our sleeves, demanding a substantial change of course regarding this whole affair.
We believe that it is no longer possible to continue talking about mitigation techniques, to paint some satellites with non-reflective paintings and in the meantime let the company to send hundreds of satellites in LEO orbit!.
As it should be, the SpaceX company is doing its best by trying to take time with the astronomical community and turn on the global service (expected around 1000 satellites); at that point the right to operate will be legitimized even if this should be deemed illegal.
Judging from last night’s presentations, the political intention of astronomical institutions is to indulge society by focusing on interference mitigation techniques.

The zoom meeting was attended by Elon Musk himself, staying online for over an hour, explaining how SpaceX wants to be collaborative and well-intentioned to reduce the impact of its satellites (but meanwhile continues to launch them relentlessly). They are studying future versions of satellites which, once in their final orbit, should no longer be visible to the naked eye and should be much less harmful also on professional astronomy.
At some point in the discussion, an astronomer asked Elon Musk to mitigate the impact by buying him a nice new space telescope!

It is not feasible for any institutions to propose such an exchange even on a personal basis!

Talking on this, a year has passed since the first launch and no serious assessment of the impact on radio astronomy has been taken into consideration by any astronomical institutions. This is a fact!

We also can not understand why such professional astronomers only concentrate on impact in the night sky totally forgiving that each astronomical optical investigation needs to be scientifically usable to produce a large amount of calibration frames in the twilight: therefore if the astronomical commonality forgets to mitigate and minimize the impact of satellites in the twilight hours then it risks compromising the calibration and therefore the scientificity of 100% of the night observations!

A change of course is clearly necessary and therefore we renew our commitment to represent the 2000 signatories in each location to block future launches and regain possession of the night sky, which can in no way be sold off for commercial purposes.
This LINK article explains our legal strategy for force withdrawing all authorizations so far granted to SpaceX.

Support us and ask loudly to all your astronomical institutions and agencies to move in our direction to protect our profession and the right to enjoy a pollution-free sky without these artificial constellations.

Climate Changes and Satellites’ Constellations

Why are climate changes and “Global Warming” so important for our Environment and Biosphere? Do Satellites’ Constellations represent a threat to our Environment?

Simple because it represents an physical effect that is called positive feedback, that is, a chain reaction that once triggered feeds itself and necessarily leads to the breaking of some sort of natural balance. Our “biological” balance comes from an almost stable temperature in our ecosystem / biosphere. If the global average temperature moves abruptly, the biosphere suffers and there is necessarily an extinction (e.g. mass-extinction), caused by the loss of habitats and ecological niches occupied by some species.

Let us understand this step better.

There are countless climatology studies that identify the presence of a varied biodiversity as a factor in mitigating the differences (gradients) of temperatures (obviously, if you have a tree-lined avenue in hot summers you are better off than in a desert under the sun), but it is not only biodiversity that affects the maintenance of temperatures and the reduction of gradients. There are also ice (perennials / glaciers) and the extension of the polar ice caps to determine the amount of heat that is reflected (i.e. albedo / reflectivity index) of the soil instead of being absorbed by the naked ground.
With less biodiversity and less perennial ice, what happens is that the ground (and so the biosphere) absorbs more incident solar energy. This means that in a short time, since the great thermal latency of the presence of ice and vegetation on the planet ceases, local temperatures rise faster in a very short time than in the past, therefore large masses of air heat up quickly bringing large displacements of air, water, steam and so on. What does it means? What would have been a drizzle becomes a thunderstorm, what would have been a thunderstorm becomes a storm and so on monsons become super-monsons… All triggered by a continuous increase in the average temperature of our planet that goes paired with the percentage of CO2 and CH4 (greenhouse gasses) that are present in percentage in the air we breathe. But this percentage grows and increases with the increase of the world population. For thousands of years the constant and inexorable graph of CO2 increase follows the increase or decrease (see pandemics) of the world population (see pictures below).


BUT HOW much does the concentration of these (and other) greenhouse gases affect the percentage of solar power that is stored in the biosphere?
Let’s take a step back:
The Solar Constant is the amount of (electromagnetic) energy that the Sun radiates on every square meter of the earth in every second (its electromagnetic “power density”). This value is equivalent to 1.3KW / m^2 (+ /-1369W / m^2).
This constant is roughly half reflected in space, the rest remains in the atmosphere and on the earth’s surface and serves to feed the water cycle and to heat the mineral world. ONLY 1% of this energy is actually ABSORBED by the BIOSPHERE or by the vegetable and animal world. So 1% of the solar constant equals 1% of 1.3KW / m^2 = 13W / m^2.
Now let’s make an equivalence since we talk about electromagnetic field: 13W / m^2 of electromagnetic field correspond to about 70V / m of electric field.
If we go to make a comparison of the EMF exposure limits in force in the USA, UK, CDN, AUS, NZ, F (but not in IT, CH, B, LUX, PL, RUS, CHINA) it is 61V / m which corresponds at an electromagnetic power of 10W / m^2.
With the launches of mega-constellations of satellites and the progressive development of 5G and 6G on the ground (i.e. US FCC, the US agency for telecommunications, has authorized about 1 million o new ground stations to reirradiate 5G signal from the SpaceX Starlink satellites), world agencies are already warning us that we need “to forgive the respect of safety standards in few years”. These words comes from the president of US FCC, dr Ajit Paj, which has recently given permission to SpaceX (in spite of international standards) to deploy a fleet of 42 thousand non-geostationary satellites for 5G / 6G from space. For each of these satellites there will be thousands of base radio stations on the ground (see 1 million of new TLC ground stations authorizations in US), which will re-radiate the internet signals from the satellites at full power.
We can therefore reasonably think, from Paj’s words that soon the limit will exceed 61V / m and will also reach 70V / m corresponding to 13W / m^2, equal to 1% of the solar constant, or the amount of energy radiated by the Sun per quare meter that is absorbed by the biosphere every second (including plants, animals and humans)!
So IT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO UNDERSTAND, when we talk about climate changes and we goes in our cities’ squares to manifest our opposition to this model of economic development that THE DECISORS OF THE WORLD (Governments and Industries of ENERGY / TLC), while talking (and exploiting) these young people in the squares, indicating a SUSTAINABLE FUTURE and that GREENHOUSE GASES MUST BE LIMITED (whose ultimate effect of which is to retain a very small part of the constant solar), these gentlemen are going to pour so much electromagnetic power (or heat) on Earth, to multiply by a factor of TWO, the amount of power that the Sun provides daily to power the biosphere.
Leaving aside the obvious consequences of this immoderate pouring (fires, desertification and other consequencies described before), a serious question arises:

WHERE WILL THEY GET THE NECESSARY ENERGY TO REVERSE 1% (or more) OF THE SOLAR CONSTANT IN THE BIOSPHERE?
The most obvious answer is to use fossil fuels and sources and nuclear power, which leaves room for all the necessary considerations on how the WORLD POLITIC is actually committed in terms of SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, CIRCULAR ECONOMY, LIMITATION OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT etc…
We are the most energy-consuming society ever and the deployment of Satellites’ Constellations will represent a severe threat to the Environment and Ecosystem, so not only to astronomer’s profession.

Do we still want to hide our heads under the sand?

References

[1] William Ruddiman, “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate”, “Earth’s Climate: Past and Future”, “How did humans first alter global climate?” e “Orbital insolation, ice volume and greenhouse gases”

[2] Fritjof Capra Pier Luigi Luisi, “Vita e Natura, una visione sistemica”

[3] Jared Diamond, “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” e “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive”

[4] Environment Canada (EC) @ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/briefing/key-issues-climate-change.html

[5] J.B. Calhoun, “Universe 25 Experiment”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_sink

[6] N. Roberts, “The Holocene”

[7] F.E. Cartwright, “Disease History”

[8] “What’s really warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise”, https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

[9] Valentina V. Zharkova, Simon J. Shepherd, Elena Popova, Sergei I. Zharkov, “Reinforcing the double dynamo model with solar-terrestrial activity in the past three millennia”, arXiv:1705.04482v2

[10] http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/ Global Footprint Network dataset & OverShootDay: https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/press-release-italian/

One Step Away from the Abyss for Astronomers

This image was taken by Zdenek Bardon (taken from his twitter account) where are visible Starlinks Satellites’s trajectory around the comet C2019 Y4 ATLAS from the Czech Republic using a Nikon D810a and Optics ZEISS Otus 1,4/100 6×120 sec. THIS IS THE SKY WITH ONLY about 400 SATELLITES, lets’ imagine how it will be when all 42,000 satelites will be sent into LEO orbit! ALL STARLINK SATELLITES MUST BE DEORBITED AND THE WHOLE ASTRONOMICAL COMMUNITY SHOULD JOIN THE BATTLE. To note two flashes/flares from central satellites during the 6×120 exposures (tot 12 minutes).
A second update in our mailing list was sent on April 20, 2020.
This is the content:
_______________________________________
International Appeal by Astronomers:
Healthy Heavens Trust Initiative


Dear subscriber,
the “appeal by astronomers” supports the Application for Review (AFR) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed yesterday.
The AFR is the first step in our Long-Term Action Plan. In drafting the AFR we have had two goals: first, to set a proper foundation for a considered review, reversal, or further conditions by the FCC on the grant by its International Bureau to SpaceX of a blanket license for one million earth stations; and second, to establish a larger context and framework (connecting many dots) for future administrative, judicial, and international actions. All are mutually reinforcing. The immediate next steps are:
·      Prepare and file a Petition for Rule Making.
·      Continue to support grassroots actions.
·      Prepare an appeal to the DC Circuit based on the FCC’s ruling on the AFR.
·      Cooordinate initiatives with attorneys, legislators, innovators, and advocates in other countries.
The following Roadmap on the AFR highlights some of its key points.
· Process and Procedure. The AFR maintains that although the parties may disagree on substance, the FCC must follow the law and its own rules and established procedures. It is not a supra-constitutional agency.
· Radiation Hazard Report (RHR). This is really the fulcrum of the argument. SpaceX is required by the FCC’s rules to prepare an adequate RHR. We contend its recent submission is inadequate; therefore SpaceX must prepare an environmental assessment (EA), which it has not done; indeed, we assert the FCC must conduct its own environmental impact assessment, as required under NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act). The FCC has also failed to meet this NEPA requirement. At this point come into help our “appeal by astronomers” with the request to FCC to withdraw SpaceX’s authorizations and to put on hold further launches in the meantime that EA will be prepared and evaluated, according to astronomical community needs and provisions of international treaties. Weather Forecast activities are also greatly damaged.

· Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR). The FCC is about to adopt a new rule on cumulative effects of RFR applicable to earth stations. (Our team member, Australian barrister, Ray Broomhall, is even more concerned about radiation from magnetic fields (see his Declaration on pg. 53 of the Application.) We are asking the FCC and SpaceX to consider the cumulative effects of RFR from the uplinks (from the earth stations to satellites) as well as the downlinks (from satellites to base and earth stations). We have not found peer reviewed published studies of the cumulative health effects of continuing RFR exposures from satellites on humans, plants, and animals. In the case of individual purchasers of SpaceX “user terminal” earth stations, we maintain that the risks increase, because (based on our research) each earth station will be in constant simultaneous communication with multiple satellites, hence the earth stations will likely be transmitting and therefore radiating, more RFR, especially in inclement weather.
· Empowering Local Communities. The AFR can be a useful tool to empower local communities in several respects:
1.    By the FCC’s rules, local communities are not preempted from imposing reasonable precautionary controls on the unannounced and random placement of earth stations.
2.    These controls can take the form of local ordinances requiring warnings.
3.    Local communities should consider requiring a bond from SpaceX, as more than likely it does not have insurance to cover liability for RFR-related harms.
4.    On this score, there is a significant legal question of informed consent. It is one thing for a SpaceX customer to purchase an earth station for personal or business use. It is quite another if this earth station irradiates a neighbor’s property and person without his/her consent, which is a distinct possibility. The FCC rules do not address this contingency. (This matter will be addressed in our Petition for Rule Making.)
5.    The AFR with its Declarations and citations establishes a prima facie case for heightened duty of care, hence contingent liability, especially on behalf of members of local communities who already have established medical disabilities. The FCC and SpaceX will be challenged to argue that they had no knowledge of the health and environmental consequences, especially as the record is further developed.
· Innovation. The AFR contains an innovative use of Interrogatories as set out in the Declaration by legal team member Joseph Sandri. The power of the Interrogatory process and The Art of the Question are described in great detail in the Resilient Negotiator course, Meeting the 5G Challenge. There will be many creative uses of Interrogatories in developing a compelling evidentiary record to support international actions.
· Corona Pandemic. We cite an important U.S. Supreme Court decision to support our argument that the FCC”s obligation to follow reasonable precautions and established procedures increases rather than lightens during a national emergency like the corona pandemic.
Giving careful thought on how most effectively to use the AFR as part of an expanding and continuing educational process.
The AFR to FCC is the first obligatory step, then, depending on the answers obtained, we will take our requests to any US Federal Court of Justice (i.e. Florida) and if this were not even enough we will move to the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

This is a global initiative so please share this informations with all your contacts and supporter us. Continue to advertise our Appeal by professional astronomers to protest against satellites’ constellations.

After gathering around 2,000 signatures of astronomers (SEE CURRENT SIGNATURES), the Appeal is now ready to be used at the local level to increase awareness by governments and NGOs of some of the harms that will be caused by those satellites.
Concerns related to the impact of large satellite constellations for astronomical ground based facilities are described in two dedicated scientific preprint here:
·      https://arxiv.org/abs/2001.10952

·      https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.05472

_________________________________
The “appeal by astronomers” declaration:
Please feel free  to compile this open letter and send us to be part of our legal action against SpaceX and FCC.
—–
My name is XXXX XXXX and I am a graduate in XXXX specializing in Astrophysics and working as a Research XXXXX for the XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX.
I have worked for more than ten years with …. ….. …..
As soon as my colleagues and I learned of the intention to launch mega-constellations totalling more than 50,000 satellites into low earth orbit, we committed to try to move international scientific opinion that seemed to be ignoring the impacts.
In a personal capacity I totally agree and subscribe the “Appeal by Astronomers”. I am one of the 2000 subscribers.
I think that all inherent problems described in the appeal will be provided by mega-constellations of satellites in different electromagnetic bands: radio astronomy, for example, could be totally annihilated and unable to operate in few years, despite the billion dollar investments for the large
facilities on the ground.
Even in optics, investments funded by public money for large telescopes could suffer a percentage decrease in value proportional to the loss of scientific content of the observations made: if for some telescopes with medium-large field of view, it is possible to lose 60-70% of the science data produced within an observing night, this would have the same effect on the loss of value for the public investment committed to that ground based facility.
Each institution has invested different amounts of public money in astronomical ground based projects. Over the past two years for example, my institute, XXXXXX, has invested around XXX million euros for ground projects; so the loss of economic value would be significant.
The more satellites in orbit there are, the more this percentage of damage to the observations will necessarily grow, so if satellites density reaches a critical value, observations from the ground will become totally impossible, and all the tens of billions of euros / dollars spent so far will be permanently lost.

Clearly the fear is not only that of safeguarding a profession or of avoiding damage to public finances, but that of losing an immeasurable good for all humanity for the sake of commercial profit, which is why the astronomers’ petition asks agencies and governments to take action in order to block any further satellite launches, and simultaneously to deorbit all low-orbit
satellites launched to date, and to put in place and immediately execute an international moratorium on all exploitation of the sky for commercial purposes.
We are 2,000 scientists who are clamoring for it.

 NAME: Dott. XXXXX XXXXXX
YOUR Institute …..

News from Satellites
The negotiation of the IAU to obtain less luminous orbiting satellites proved to be an epic fail because the only satellite sent in orbit (called DARKSAT) with a special non-reflective coating was found to be roughly as bright as the other satellites (being 3/4 of the reflective surface made up of solar panels), see here.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted SpaceX to deploy up to one million ground stations to connect users to its Starlink satellite broadband service, see here.

In the meantime other 180 starlink satellites were launched and the total number of orbiting starlink is now 420. And FCC has accepted for other 30thousand satellites: see here (maybe all article on the impact of satellites sizing SpaceX with only 12thousand satellites should be rewritten!)

Space Exploration Holdings, LLC seeks to modify its Ku/Ka-band NGSO license to relocate satellites previously authorized to operate at altitudes from 1,110 km to 1,325 km down to altitudes ranging from 540 km to 570 km, and to make related changes (see here): this will mean fewer illuminated satellites during the middle of the night, but more bright satellites during the twilight when scientific calibration exposure are needed.

French astronomers found a greater quantity of flashes coming from the starlink satellites than the expected number (see here).

OneWeb to file for bankruptcy as effort to secure funding, including from investor SoftBank, falls through(See here).

US Senators asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to exempt satellite constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink from an environmental review, given those satellites’ effect on the night sky, see here.

Satellite mega-constellations pose threat to ground-based astronomy: LINK

Mega-satellite Constellations in Development Could Harm Astronomical Observations, Scientists Find: LINK

Will Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites harm astronomy? Here’s what we know.: LINK

Satellites’ Constellations … news!

One good news in times of Coronavirus!

OneWeb is going to Bankrupt!!!

Waiting for bankrupt of SpaceX.

In the meantime IAU stated that DARKSAT was not so dark… As we alteady stated two months ago!

Even in quarantine SpaceX continue to launch in orbit Starlink satellites. Now the total amount of Starlink fleet is composed of 360 components.

So, let’s stop SpaceX launches before it is too late!

Next week we will send to European institutions 2000+ signatures to ask for a moratotium in satellites launches…

Concerns about ground based astronomical observations: QUANTIFYING SATELLITES’ CONSTELLATIONS DAMAGES

In pubblications on arXiv the second preprint on SATELLITES’ CONSTELLATIONS DAMAGES.

HERE you can download the .pdf

HERE you can download the .pdf

ABSTRACT:

This article is a second analysis step from the descriptive arXiv:2001.10952 preprint. This work is aimed to arise awareness to the scientific astronomical community about the negative impact of satellites’ mega-constellations and put in place approximated estimations about loss of scientific contents expected for ground based astronomical observations when all 50,000 satellites (and more) will be displaced in LEO orbit. The first analysis regards the impact on professional astronomical images in optical windows. Than the study is expanded to other wavelengths and astronomical ground based facilities (radio and higher energies) to better understand which kind of effects are expected. Authors also try to per-form a quantitative economic estimation related to the loss of value for public finances committed to the ground based astronomical facilities armed by satellites’ constellations. These evaluations are intended for general purposes, can be improved and better estimated, but in this first phase they could be useful as evidentiary material to quantify the damage in subsequent legal actions against further satellites deployments.© 2020 S.Gallozzi, D.Paris, M.Scardia, M.Maris, D.Dubois

HERE you can download the .pdf

HERE you can download the .pdf

NEW Article from ESO on the impact of Satellites

https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso2004/?lang

At this link it is possible to find an article “from ESO” on the impact of satellites (here the paper on arXiv -> https://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso2004/eso2004a.pdf )

Unfortunately we MUST comment that this work is completely underestimated since the TOTAL NUMBER of satellites taken into account is 26,750 (just half of the SpaceX/Starlink fleet!!!).

So the question is WHY underestimate the problem?!

With our last projection it is sure that in few years the total number of orbiting satellites will overcome 100,000 units!

Stay tuned for our article on arXiv, and a much more real and reliable projection and forecast.

new preprint is coming…

The following table is extracted by the next article work in progress (at 75%).

The updated list of all satellites’ constellations is greater than ever: all simulations performed since the current day underestimate the total number of satellite.

We must stop them before it is too late!

updated list of TLC constellations project

Or we will need to adapt us to look at the sky like in the second picture!

starlink satellites seen during a meteor shower event!

Next Step?… legal action!

In this bad situation for astronomy, our task is clear: we are scientists and therefore we must analyze the phenomenon with the greatest possible accuracy and scientific rigor.

There are different international stakeholder players, so we need to consolidate collaborations among colleagues in order to analyze the problem quantitatively.

It is clearly needed to collect existing informations on the problem, without minimize issues to astronomy related to satellites’ constellations.

NO alarmism… only realism!

After the astro-amateur Thierry Legault , see here: https://astronomersappeal.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/darksat-not-so-dark/

Other non-professional astronomers (the Italian UAI) start the evaluation of light pollution caused by satellites: https://www.uai.it/sito/news/uai-inquinamento-luminoso/al-via-uai-satmonitor-il-programma-per-la-misura-e-la-valutazione-degli-effetti-dei-satelliti-commerciali-sulle-attivita-astrofile/

What is currently totally missed by international institutions is an OPEN CALL on the main ground based facilities for observational campaign to characterize the phenomenon in its very first phase.

We must bitterly note that the international astronomical community without mitigating circumstances is failing in regards timing and odds of intervention by continuing to focus on the predictions of a sure damage and never to avoid it.

How much time could last the work to raise up a scientific rigorous prediction of the damage caused by SpaceX and OneWeb to professional Astronomy?

We can try to make a prediction: that time will be greater than what will be necessary by companies to startup satellites and provide to the whole mankind the internet service from the space. This will help the public opinion to totally “put aside” the ground based astronomy with all related claim and requests!

This is an EPIC FAIL for all of us: “while the astronomy community is talking and discussing on the “decimal precision” about the suffered damage, the Telecommunication Industry is deploying his pieces on the chessboard to checkmate Science in few steps“.

For this reason we are moving orthogonally to the scientific government bodies hoping to sue a legal action with the assistance of a US legal consulting firm, to put on hold satellites’ deployment in the bud: the firm is studying the case and in few days it will propose a legal strategy of intervention.

So in few days we will receive serious requests coming from out legal firm and we will need open contributions from everybody for a fast and incisive response.

It is difficult but we need to do! Together.

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