Welcome to the Action Against Satellite Light Pollution website (AASLP). Our movement is dedicated to asking probing and necessary questions, whilst seeking answers as to whether individuals and organisations who are affected by satellite light pollution were consulted first? What efforts, if any are being made by the corporations who run these satellite programmes to mitigate and minimise the adverse impacts that their actions have on the human right to view a dark and uninterrupted night sky? Satellite light pollution and radio interference cause major problems for astronomers, both professional and amateur. Other vital astrophysical scientific research is also becoming impossible to undertake, past examples of which, communication satellite technology would not have been ‘realised’ without it. Our goal is to inform and encourage questioning by global citizens and if possible engage an active movement against the unjustified exploitation of our commonwealth… the night sky.
Welcome to your latest AASLP News! We will post the latest important NEWS stories here. But for more daily stories and comment, why not consider becoming a member of our private Facebook site (membership terms and conditions apply)? Please Note: The NEWS links below may include advertising on them. AASLP cannot verify, validate or be accountable for the content on them. AASLP does not necessarily associate itself with the content on external sites and articles. Welcome to your latest AASLP News! We will post the latest important NEWS stories here. But for more daily stories and comment, why not consider becoming a member of our private Facebook site (membership terms and conditions
Article in Science Magazine: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS…
Satellite swarms are threatening the night sky. Is low-Earth orbit the next great crucible of environmental conflict? Including an account of an interesting discussion between Tony Tyson and Elon Musk!
Opinion Paul Sutter of Space.com: Megaconstellations could destroy astronomy and there’s no easy fix!
SGD18: The Spanish Sky Quality and Access to Starlight Organisation has taken up the issue of satellite Light Pollution… Please support them and sign their Petition!
ALERT: The week long Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society II Conference has started today (Sunday 3rd October 2021). There is a a two day session on satellite light/radio pollution starting 08:00Z (UTC) Tuesday 5th October.
EDITORIAL COMMENT on Space.Com Newsflash: SpaceX launches 51 more Starlinks. SpaceX has resumed it’s programme to launch another 51 Starlink satellites after a two month delay thought to allow an ‘upgrade’ to the new asset specification of an orbital laser communication link.
Daily Express: UK in line of fire as Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite hurtled towards Earth – MOD alerted. THE UK risked being in the line of fire from “debris” when one of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites hurtled towards Earth from space, the UK Space Agency warned as the Ministry of Defence (MOD) tracked its journey. By CALLUM HOARE 06:49, Sat, Sep 11, 2021
SpaceRef Business: Space Junk Traffic Dangers To Be Tackled By First-of-its-kind Research Center In UK
Scientists at a new Centre for Space Domain Awareness are to focus attention on threats to the technology filling the skies above our heads in anticipation of a huge expansion in the number of satellites that provide vital services such as communications, navigation and Earth observation | Published: 8th September 2021
ISPReview: Starlink Sets Tentative Plans for Gen2 LEO Broadband Satellites. SpaceX has started to set out some tentative early details for the future second generation (Gen2) of their Low Earth Orbit (LEO) focused Starlink ultrafast broadband satellites, which would be larger, faster (data) and could push the size of their mega constellation to total 29,988 satellites.
Astronomy Magazine: The future of satellites lies in the constellations
Numerous companies are planning to launch and operate swarms of small satellites in coming years. Earth orbit is about to get crowded.
By Nathaniel Scharping | Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Action Against Satellite Light Pollution (AASLP) was initially formed by a small group of astronomers concerned by the rapidly increasing numbers of bright satellite ‘trails’ crossing the night sky during observations sometimes ‘spoiling’ long duration astronomical imaging sessions and more worryingly ‘corrupting’ valuable astrophysical data collection.
Since then, the commercial concept of satellite broadband ‘megaconstellations’ have led to the launching of many hundreds of Low Earth Orbit satellites. Following this proposed massed increases in plans and radio communication licences have been granted for thousands more satellites that WILL impact on astronomy and other areas of research and culture. Radio Astronomers are already being impacted negatively by radio-interference from Low Earth Orbiting broadband satellites… because they constantly ‘move’ in the sky and orbit the whole Earth there will be no place to site astronomical, ultra-sensitive equipment on the globe! Companies like SpaceX (USA – StarLink), OneWeb (UK) and Telesat (Canada) already have hundreds of satellites in space. Many more are to come from commercial and governmentally owned companies like Amazon’s Project Kuiper (USA), ViaSat (USA)… and more are being planned by China, Russia and others. It has been calculated that if this accelerated rate of launching continues there will be more than 100,000+ satellites in Low Earth orbit by 2030, this will impact negatively and hugely on both professional and amateur astronomy.
WHAT WE ARE DOING ABOUT IT?
This original group of concerned astronomers started by creating a private Facebook Group, engaging to discuss and coordinate lobbying and protest action. This Group is still growing and has currently around 400 members. If you have the commitment to further our cause and wish to be considered for membership please use this URL: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ActionAgainstSatelliteLightPollution or search for ‘Action Against Satellite Light Pollution’ on FB. The Group now consists of professional astronomers, academics, engineers, telecommunications professionals, amateur astronomers, casual ‘stargazers’, members of minority ethnic and religious communities (that have found constant satellites ‘intrude’ on their night skies belief systems), ALL who share our concern are welcome to join us! We are now a wide-ranging community that all have the same objective; to lobby, educate the public and ensure that a global equitable Policy and effective, impactful, wide-ranging regulatory system that is ‘fit-for-use’ and enjoyed by EVERYONE around the world.
SEE THE IMPACTS!
This excellent video by Professor Andy Lawrence (Regius Professor of Astronomy – Institute for Astronomy (IfA) of the University of Edinburgh), explains some of he issues. Andy is pationate about astronomy and the preservation of the night sky and everyone’s right to see it’s true beauty and majesty. This video is related to his excellent book Losing The Sky available here! Many thanks to Prof Lawrence for his kind permission and support!
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Ever since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, we have had artificial satellites orbiting the Earth, some in Low Earth Orbit are visible to the naked eye and can be easily seen with binoculars and telescopes. As the ‘space race’ fuelled by the ‘Cold War’ heated up, more and more satellites were launched, some for military purposes and national security organisations, but as time went on also for worthy scientific research, telecommunications and Earth observation programmes.
By the end of the 20th Century about 750 satellites were in orbit, only a few of these were visible from the Earth and those that were, were considered ‘entertaining’ to observe! By 2010 over a thousand ‘active’ satellites were in orbit (many more defunct satellites and other objects and ‘junk’ is still there!), this was followed by a huge expansion of launching of satellites with nearly 4,000 active satellites in orbit by 2020. Alarmingly, 2021 has seen this number almost double, rising to just under 7,000! Disturbingly, since 2018 we have seen the birth of the commercial concept of ‘megaconstellations’ of broadband satellites that are now regularly being launched by commercial mega-corporates who already have licences for 30,000 satellites in Low Earth Orbit! It is estimated that by 2030 we could have more than 100,000+ satellites most of them in Low Earth Orbit and constantly visible to the naked eye in the night sky.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ASTRONOMY?
For astronomers, both professional and amateur, this issue is a major problem. Important research is interrupted, sometimes curtailed completely when a satellite passes into a telescope’s ‘field of view’, some sensitive and expensive equipment will not be able to work correctly or even become unusable for that session. Satellite interference can lead to corruption of observation data and even lead to misleading research outcomes. Astronomy is the oldest and noblest of the sciences and the majority of it is still done from ground based observatories in very ‘dark sky’ areas of the world. However, orbiting satellites ‘move’ over the skies of EVERY part of the globe and so there is no escape from light and radio interference! The latest broadband satellites the are being launched in these so-called ‘megaconstellations’ formations and they also constantly emit radio-waves that interfere with radio-astronomy that is not deliberate but is the nature of radio spectrum physics and engineering. Only for Radio Astronomers this problem happens at ALL times, 24 hours, day and night, 365 days a year!
WHAT ABOUT OTHER PARTS OF OUR COMMUNITY?
Other parts of our global community are also waking up to this unjustified intrusion, some minority ethnic and religious communities use the stars at night as part of their belief system. For them, the constant intrusion over ‘their’ night sky is an affront to their beliefs and cultural practices. Recent research has also found that constant movement of bright satellites also interferes with various species of wild-life that affects navigation and even breading patterns.
The environment will also be impacted. Recent research pointing to the practice of de-orbiting’ of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites ‘seeding’ the upper atmosphere with aluminium particulates. These particulate are formed from burned-up satellites on re-entry leading to a heat reflective layer adding to global warming. Megaconstellations will add hugely to this problem as most of these type of satellite will have a 5 to 10 year life before they are de-orbited and replaced by new satellite(s) being subsequently launched. Looking at some current corporate plans, this will mean that at least 100,000 satellites will burn-up in the atmosphere every 5 to 10 years and then repeatedly so!
Because of the huge numbers of LEO satellites there is also the dangerously increased numbers of collisions in space. Each very high-speed collision’ will result in very high-speed particles (resulting in multiples of thousands of particles for each!) continuing in orbit (they don’t just fall out of the sky!) almost certainly causing further collisions in a cascade that would result in a lethal zone or band around the Earth that would block further access to space for decades to come. This scenario is called the Kessler Syndrome. It is thought that currently, legal liability will NOT apply to any company that is responsible if the original ‘launching’ nation decides against it!
Our primary objective is to mitigate the negative effects of satellite light pollution, this can be done by lobbying those in power and others (governments, regulators, non-governmental organisations, movements, media and individuals) around the world to protect the RIGHTS of EVERYONE, not just a select few who feel they can exploit commercially the global commonwealth, that is the NIGHT SKY! We also have secondary objectives that you will find elsewhere on this site… do what you can to support these if you agree with them?However, please do consider joining us in whatever way you can… please do feel free to contact us and offer your encouragement and support as you see fit!
Check here regularly to see the latest Campaigns, Calls to Action, Conferences, Consultations and Movements so YOU can make a difference!
The 2021 UK Space Conference (Online) - 27th to 29th September.
The UK Space Conference is well established as the most important and influential event for space in the UK. For the sixth time, this biennial event will bring together the UK and international space community from across government, industry and academia to exchange ideas, share plans, develop relationships and seek inspiration to thrive in the new space age. This is an excellent opportunity to voice the issues of satellite light pollution and megaconstellations impacts on astronomy, the community and the environment. Sadly the registration is chargeable but your place can be booked here. The full programme including the Themes,
‘Space to Live Well’ and ‘Space to Inspire & Explore’ can be seen here.
FREE ONLINE CONFERENCE on DARK and QUIET SKIES - 3rd to 7th October 2021
For those who would be interested in taking part in the upcoming conference on Dark and Quiet Skies Conference for Science and Society, organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), to be held as a hybrid virtual and in-person event on October 3-7, 2021. This conference follows on the successful October 2020 virtual Dark and Quiet Skies meeting, which resulted in a first-ever comprehensive report to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) with specific recommendations to address three concerns: ground-based light pollution, the influence of large satellite constellations on the night sky, and interference to radio astronomy observations.
For professional astronomers ONLY, we recommend that you should sign the Astronomers Appeal, set up by Stefano Gallozzi.
If you are an amateur astronomer/stargazer of an interested party we would urge you to sign the Losing the night sky appeal at Avaaz.
The Spanish Sky Quality and Access to Starlight Organisation has taken up the issue of satellite Light Pollution… Please support them by signing their Petition!