Mega-constellations: Satellite pollution threatens Australian skies and indigenous astronomy practices
Satellite pollution marked the beginning of the 21st century, especially in recent years. Long before advances in space technology, particularly the creation of satellites, our ancestors would have relied on knowledge of ancient stars to observe not only celestial objects and celestial events in the night sky.
Knowledge of Ancient Stars
(Photo: Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Interstellar knowledge allowed people to navigate through the lands and waters using the constellations as a guide or map. This is made possible because Indigenous peoples around the world have observed, monitored and memorized almost every visible object in the night sky, according to online media and the Research Network. The conversation.
Since the beginning of satellite technology, which has also brought multiple benefits to human civilization, especially in the areas of digital communication, air navigation and Internet access, a myriad of disadvantages are perceived to be incorporated into this technological feat.
On the Oceania continent and its surrounding regions, indigenous astronomy practices are under threat because not only do the satellites physically block the view of the Australian night sky, but they also look like dark spots or a dark constellation, according to The Conversation.
Moreover, mega-constellations are also a source of artificial brightness in the night sky, according to a study published in the journal Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices.
For example, the Martu people of Western Australia used Jukurrpa or Dreaming which is integrated to detect the “Seven Sisters Constellation” located 410 light years from Earth.
Due to the mega-constellations, astronomers and space enthusiasts fear that it will one day no longer be possible to observe these celestial bodies.
Read also : AI and satellites can help identify pollution hotspots, researchers show
The company Dewesoft, a leading provider of high-end data acquisition systems, has previously said that there are several tens of thousands of small satellites orbiting the Earth. These space objects have been used for various uses for long distance communication, aviation, space exploration and others.
Known collectively as mega-constellations, the number of satellites circling the planet over the years causes satellite pollution or significant blockage of the night sky. Although the term is not similar to other environmental pollutions, the large number of satellites can block celestial bodies and events in the future.
Besides the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), various private companies, including tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, have engaged in a competition to dominate the skies through theoretical space exploration and the installation of satellites.
Starlink Satellite Internet Project
Although there was applause around SpaceX’s satellite internet project Stellar LinkVarious concerns have been raised recently that the large number of satellite arrays will not only impair our view of the night sky, but also astronomical observations as a whole.
In the near-term future, SpaceX hopes to send up to 42,000 satellites into Earth orbit in addition to the Mega Constellation, according to the space and astronomy news site. Space.com. As early as January 2015, Musk initially proposed and voiced sending 4,000 satellites into low Earth orbit.
Following the proposal, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded SpaceX the flight of 12,000 Starlink satellites. The space company is filing documents for approval of 30,000 additional Starlink satellites.
Related article: Satellite pollution: Overcrowded satellites pose a risk to night sky viewing and asteroid monitoring
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