Satellite megaconstellations are threatening astronomy. What can be done?
The thought that all astronomy should be done off-Earth also elicits a response from John Barentine, executive officer and principal consultant at Dark Sky Consulting in Tucson, Arizona. This consulting group is focused on light pollution, dark skies and astronomy.
As for space-based observatories, not all of them fly above the satellites in question, Barentine said, in particular, the Hubble Space Telescope that orbits sufficiently low that its images are sometimes directly affected by satellite trails.
Barentine points to a recent search of Hubble's data archive by using machine learning. The result was finding more than 2,400 satellite trails in images. "We expect to see a big increase in that number for however many years of useful life the Hubble Space Telescope has left," he said.
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