SATCOM1 Day 1 Notes

From: Brad Young via Seesat-l <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2020 18:51:49 +0000 (UTC)

Thanks to all the presenters for their efforts and patience with our questions. I am including this as a courtesy to the seesat list and a few others who were interested but could not attend the conference.

The Observation and Simulation working groups (Day 1) have determined that Starlink is going to be a real, measurable impact on astronomy. Though somewhat obvious, this was a necessary first step, so that we can quantify the issue and begin mitigation. However, as presented today, collection and analysis of observations going forward seem to involve long term large, inertial projects. One of the speakers even commented that private space development is going to evolve and act much quicker than the academic approach of professional astronomy can match.

A plausible solution is more involvement with citizen science groups like seesat, TruSat, etc. A few speakers described setting up a global network of telescopes for imaging satellite mega constellations. This may take months if not years to engage people, setup or modify equipment and/or software, before useful data is available. Or, it will require diverting existing high value research resources to observe satellites to show that the satellites are interfering with high value research resources (!) Existing observers, methods, and equipment are out there, and stakeholders would be better served using the systems that are ready to go to provide data in a timely fashion.

The simulations presentations, including one by Olivier Hainaut (with Cees Bassa), were very informative, and seemed to agree well with other modeling we've seen done by others. Johnathan McDowell and Moriba Jah also provided great explanations of progressively more complicated models. The visibility of the satellites (seasonally, based on latitude, etc.) were all quite well simulated. But the crucial parameter of brightness was admittedly not handled well ("crude" as described by one speaker). Most speakers stated there was an explicit need for more observations to determine both standard magnitude and optical characteristics. The simulations all require real data to prove out their assumptions. So we are back to more observations needed. One suggestion is to facilitate data gathering now, using the people and methods already in place, while there is time to effect real change in the mitigation effort.

Looking forward to Day 2 tomorrow.

Brad Young PE
Oberwerk 8 x 40 Mariner binoculars
Meade ETX-125 
22" f/4.2 UC Obsession
COSPAR 8336 =TULSA1 +36.139208,-95.983429 660ft, 201m
COSPAR 8335 =TULSA2 +35.8311  -96.1411 1083ft, 330m
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MPC 323 COSPAR 7782 -32.008 116.135 984ft, 300m Perth, WA, Australia

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Received on Mon Jun 29 2020 - 13:52:58 UTC

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