Reply to post: Paper by McDowell on the effect of Starlink on astronomy work.

SpaceX beats an engine failure to loft another 60 Starlink satellites

tonybarry

Paper by McDowell on the effect of Starlink on astronomy work.

Starlink may not be helpful for astronomers in intermediate latitudes.

Paper by McDowell on the effect of Starlink on astronomy work is available here:-

https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.07446

Synopsis:-

[McDowell] discusses the current low Earth orbit artificial satellite population and show that the proposed `megaconstellation' of circa 12,000 Starlink internet satellites would dominate the lower part of Earth orbit, below 600 km, with a latitude-dependent areal number density of between 0.005 and 0.01 objects per square degree at airmass < 2. Such large, low altitude satellites appear visually bright to ground observers, and the initial Starlinks are naked eye objects. I model the expected number of illuminated satellites as a function of latitude, time of year, and time of night and summarize the range of possible consequences for ground-based astronomy. In winter at lower latitudes typical of major observatories, the satellites will not be illuminated for six hours in the middle of the night. However, at low elevations near twilight at intermediate latitudes (45-55 deg, e.g. much of Europe) hundreds of satellites may be visible at once to naked-eye observers at dark sites.

Disclaimer:-

I am not an author of the paper, am not related to McDowell or work with him etc. However I do engage in amateur astronomy when the clouds permit. Starlink stands to be a fecking pest if you are not interested in Starlink itself.

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