European telescopes will be disrupted by Internet satellites launched by SpaceX, OneWeb and other companies, but the interference is manageable, a new study has found. Critics say the companies are not seeking public consensus to launch these satellites, which could affect astronomy.
According to the paper’s authors, Olivier Hainaut and Andrew Williams, private satellites will have different effects in astronomy. Fortunately, as more satellites reflect the rising or falling sunlight, the first hours and last hours of work at night are most affected, so the impact is almost negligible.
They also found that the moon’s flares and occultation had little effect on the observation. They found that in the first hours and hours of the night, when normal field-of-view imaging, visible and near-infrared spectral telescope technology, satellite traces would destroy about 1% of the telescope’s exposure.
The more affected are wide-angle exposure and moderate long exposure, which affects about 3% of the time in the first hour and the last hour of the night. The biggest impact will be the ultra-wide imaging exposure done through very large telescopes, such as the Villarubin Observatory. In the first hour and last hour of the night, 30 to 40 percent of exposure is affected, and to mitigate these problems, the researchers recommend that astronomy, satellite companies and government agencies coordinate and collaborate to address the problem.