Although very low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellites bring great convenience to people’s lives, they also have great potential for light pollution. To help scientists do their job better, NASA decided to mobilize the masses to allow any interested individual to participate in a public science project that tracks the light pollution of VLEO satellites.
With just a tripod, a smartphone, and an app that shows how satellites fly overhead, anyone can easily take part in this fun-loving “astronomical entertainment for all.”
Previously, the VLEO satellite, represented by SpaceX’s Starlink Starlink cluster, has attracted intense concern from many astronomers and space agencies because of its potential impact on night sky observations.
Even in the twilight sky, the reflections of these VOSos are quite bright, and look like a row of noise or stripes in sight, depending on the camera’s shutter, exposure time, and more.
Earlier this week, NASA launched a public science project called Satellite Streak Watcher to encourage people to take and share images of the VLEO satellite’s “accident.”
The long-term project will help scientists determine the negative impact these satellites may have on space observation steam and “the explosive growth in the number of VLEO satellites over time.”
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) also said in a statement today that it commissioned a study to determine the impact of the “supersatellite constellation” on the astronomical community.
The results suggest that satellite clusters developed by companies such as Amazon and SpaceX will result in “moderate” impacts on VLTs and LARGE telescopes (ELTs), while this exposure will persist.
The Wide-angle Surverys project is most affected by these satellites, with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory affected by up to half the time (depending on the time of night and year), and there are no mitigation measures.