The Messenger

Analysing the Impact of Satellite Constellations and ESO’s Role in Supporting the Astronomy Community

Authors
  • Williams, Andrew [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]
  • Hainaut, Olivier [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]
  • Otarola, Angel [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]
  • Tan, Gie Han [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]
  • Rotola, Giuliana [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]

Abstract

In the coming decade, up to 100 000 satellites in large constellations could be launched into low Earth orbit. The satellites will introduce a variety of negative impacts on astronomy observatories and science, which vary from negligible to very disruptive depending on the type of instrument, the position of the science target, and the nature of the constellation. Since the launch of the first batch of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation in 2019, the astronomy community has made substantial efforts to analyse the problem and to engage with satellite operators and government agencies. This article presents a short summary of the simulations of impacts on ESO’s optical and infrared facilities and ALMA, as well as the conducted observational campaigns to assess the brightness of satellites. It also discusses several activities to identify policy solutions at the international and national level.


Dates
Created: 2021-09-01/2021-09-30
Length
5 pages

Cite this article:

A. Williams, O. Hainaut, A. Otarola, G. Tan, G. Rotola; Analysing the Impact of Satellite Constellations and ESO’s Role in Supporting the Astronomy Community. The Messenger 184 (September 2021): 3–7. https://doi.org/10.18727/0722-6691/5237