Musk starlink threating radio astronomy

Not only does starlink impair wide field optical astronomy, but these satellites dont phone home telepathically, they use radio signals that encroach on the radio frequencies studied by radio astronomers.
This was considered before they launched these, but there they are, and there are big plans for many more.


Starlink already threatens optical astronomy. Now, radio astronomers are worried

By Daniel CleryOct. 9, 2020 , 2:25 PM

The 197 radio astronomy dishes of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in South Africa will sit within a radio-quiet zone the size of Pennsylvania where even a cellphone is forbidden, to preserve the array’s views of the heavens. Yet that precaution won’t save the telescope, due to be completed in the late 2020s, from what may soon be overhead: tens of thousands of communications satellites beaming down radio signals straight from the heavens. “The sky will be full of these things,” says SKA Director General Phil Diamond.

The rocket company SpaceX has already launched hundreds of Starlink satellites, the first “megaconstellation” intended to provide internet service to remote areas. The satellites have aroused the ire of optical astronomers because of the bright streaks they leave across telescopes’ fields of view. Now, radio astronomers are worried, too. This week, SKA released an analysis of the impact that Starlink and other constellations would have on the array. It finds they would interfere with one of the radio channels SKA plans to use, hampering searches for organic molecules in space as well as water molecules used as a key marker in cosmology.

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