Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

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NewRetroTom
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Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by NewRetroTom » Thu May 30, 2019 10:39 am

As many of you lot are folks who take to the hills for a bivvy I'm sure that you probably also enjoy the wonder of the night sky when you get a clear night. For me this is one of the best things about spending a night out.

With the launch of SpaceX's new Starlink satellites having commenced, the amount of man-made objects visible in the night sky is about to increase dramatically. Starlink is intended to include 12,000 satellites eventually (the initial launch last week was for 60 satellites). Amazon and OneWeb are also planning to launch 5,000 satellites between them.

Do you feel that this will reduce your enjoyment of the night sky?

At the moment I don't mind too much seeing the odd satellite cruising across the sky, as there are not so many of them, but I feel that there will be a point when they are a real nuisance.

In the future it will be difficult to look at the sky without seeing lots of satellites. A kind of celestial version of what we have done to the landscape in the UK, where even in the "wilds" of Scotland there are power pylons, wind turbines or a caravan in almost every view.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by jameso » Thu May 30, 2019 12:49 pm

A- yes. Some of the most (not sure, enlightening?) times I've had have been staring up at a properly dark sky and feeling that there's nothing between me and the rest of the universe. Big part of bivi trips for me. Having a load of satellites in the view would detract from that. But I don't expect anyone will care ... Is all we can do boycott Amazon etc?
Actually... makes me livid that there's nothing people won't f up for profits. There's little going back from all this, but that's a wider concern/topic.

26th June, London.. next opportunity to tell them what you think.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu May 30, 2019 1:02 pm

But I don't expect anyone will care ... Is all we can do boycott Amazon etc?
Actually... makes me livid that there's nothing people won't f up for profits.
Totally agree but there's only profit where there's demand ... to one degree or another, we're all part of the problem and until we're willing to change our behaviour nowt will alter much.

It's a bit like power generation - I see turbines going up on a weekly basis and I wonder why there's no campaign to promote a reduction in usage rather than generating more? Then I remember that (a) there's no money in that and (b) people are generally too selfish for such things.
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ctznsmith
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by ctznsmith » Thu May 30, 2019 2:01 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:02 pm
It's a bit like power generation - I see turbines going up on a weekly basis and I wonder why there's no campaign to promote a reduction in usage rather than generating more? Then I remember that (a) there's no money in that and (b) people are generally too selfish for such things.
There kind of was in 00's with the Energy Saving Trust grant programmes and energy companies being tasked with spending a certain amount on energy efficiency but most of it went on light bulbs and insulation as it was quick easy wins.

There was very little cultural change that you didn't need that super duper electric carrot slicer or latest smart fridge/tv/toothbrush.

There is also an argument that the biggest energy usage is still large companies rather than households and so the onus should be on governments to tackle their usage.

Hadn't really considered the satellite issue. Now I have Joni Mitchell in my head.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu May 30, 2019 2:16 pm

There is also an argument that the biggest energy usage is still large companies rather than households and so the onus should be on governments to tackle their usage.
I'm sure that's true Ben but if people bothered to turn lights off, not leave things on stand-by, put a jumper on rather than turning the heating up, not boil a full kettle for a brew, etc then surly it would make a worthwhile difference.
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by voodoo_simon » Thu May 30, 2019 3:01 pm

Haven’t put too much thought into this sort of thing.

As a side note, the Sky View app is well worth downloading for the clear nights, quite a useful app to identify various planets, stars etc

Edit - just saw the irony of my post suggesting a mobile app. Bollox!
Last edited by voodoo_simon on Thu May 30, 2019 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NewRetroTom
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by NewRetroTom » Thu May 30, 2019 3:04 pm

One good aspect of all the internet satellites going up is that eventually all the ground based mobile phone masts will become redundant so they could all be taken down.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by ctznsmith » Thu May 30, 2019 3:55 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 2:16 pm
There is also an argument that the biggest energy usage is still large companies rather than households and so the onus should be on governments to tackle their usage.
I'm sure that's true Ben but if people bothered to turn lights off, not leave things on stand-by, put a jumper on rather than turning the heating up, not boil a full kettle for a brew, etc then surly it would make a worthwhile difference.
Totally agree. I'm not knocking people doing that. However the majority of the messages about reducing energy consumption that I've seen in my lifetime have been household focused.

The exception to this that I know of was when the Carbon Trust funded surveys of business premises with recommendations for how to reduce energy usage (which businesses could happily ignore if they wished) . I only really know about that because my Dad was working as a surveyor.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by htrider » Thu May 30, 2019 6:34 pm

A big asteroid is bound to be along at some point so the satellites will either get dragged out of orbit by it or if it actually hits they will just fly off into the void when earth gets blasted into fragments.....

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by RIP » Thu May 30, 2019 7:21 pm

You could have saved that for Cheery Friday :wink: .
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by dlovett » Thu May 30, 2019 8:38 pm

So we have a very good telescope and are members of an astronomy club and they/we aren’t worried. Remember that currently there are something like 5000 sats in orbit and they don’t get in the way.

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faustus
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by faustus » Fri May 31, 2019 9:30 am

I was pondering this last night whilst watching the stars on my BAM bivvy. Personally, light pollution is my biggest worry as it reduces the quality of what you can see - satellites or not. There are so many useless lights everywhere. The internet told me that the majority of satellites are in geostationary orbit, so depending where you are, you're not going to see many more. I watched a number of satellites last night, and I was actually quite impressed at these little objects that do useful things and run off the sun for decades. It was the many planes that where more concerning, aside form the pollution, the bright flashing lights and speed intrude on the star-gazing!

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by NewRetroTom » Fri May 31, 2019 10:57 am

@dlovett (wanted to type lovell for some reason)
Yes I don't imagine it will cause much problem for pointing a telescope at one tiny part of the sky - it's more the big picture I'm thinking of. Looking at the sky and struggling to tell which points of light are natural and which are not. If there are 5,000 satellites now then there are probably going to be 25,000 ten years from now. How many in 20 years time?

@faustus
Yes, light pollution and planes flying over is bad, but at least you can get away from them by going somewhere remote and not under a flight path. Even on an uninhabited island in the middle of the pacific the sky is still going to be full of satellites.
The 12,000 Starlink satellites are going into orbit at 550km and 340km, so a long way below the 35,786km of geostationary/geosynchronous orbit.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by jameso » Fri May 31, 2019 11:53 am

A big asteroid is bound to be along at some point
..some point being every few hundred thousand years on average so we'll be extinct long before that. If not, then as you say - right around the same time : )

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by mikejd » Fri May 31, 2019 12:43 pm

One good aspect of all the internet satellites going up is that eventually all the ground based mobile phone masts will become redundant so they could all be taken down.
With all the masts they're going to need for 5G, I don't think this is likely. Apparently they are going to be installed on buildings. There's a trial on just now, on I think Shetland, with a mast attached to a school. One man has taken his kids out of school in protest about the unknown health risk.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by mikejd » Fri May 31, 2019 12:43 pm

Sorry, double posted

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by u02sgb » Fri May 31, 2019 3:35 pm

But I don't expect anyone will care ... Is all we can do boycott Amazon etc?
Actually... makes me livid that there's nothing people won't f up for profits.
To be fair to SpaceX the profits are intended to go towards getting to Mars rather than pursuit of pure profit. That's the story (which I tend to believe) anyway.

Don't think these satellites are intended for mobile use. Mainly for internet to areas that aren't currently will served.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by techno mail » Fri May 31, 2019 3:37 pm

NewRetroTom wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:57 am
@dlovett (wanted to type lovell for some reason)
This'll be the reason: http://www.jodrellbank.net/visit/whats- ... telescope/
:wink:
Image

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by Ray Young » Fri May 31, 2019 3:37 pm

jameso wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:53 am
A big asteroid is bound to be along at some point
..some point being every few hundred thousand years on average so we'll be extinct long before that. If not, then as you say - right around the same time : )
I agree. My personal opinion is that the human race is doomed. Intelligent, my arse!!!

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by dlovett » Fri May 31, 2019 4:45 pm

techno mail wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:37 pm
NewRetroTom wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:57 am
@dlovett (wanted to type lovell for some reason)
This'll be the reason: http://www.jodrellbank.net/visit/whats- ... telescope/
:wink:
Hmmm, perhaps we need to upgrade to our almost namesakes sized one!

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri May 31, 2019 5:14 pm

My personal opinion is that the human race is doomed.
You know, in a weird way I'm quite looking forward to it. I can just picture a load of nob-ends pointing their phones toward the sky as bringer of our demise comes hurtling through the atmosphere towards them :grin:
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by techno mail » Fri May 31, 2019 5:17 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:14 pm
I can just picture a load of nob-ends pointing their phones toward the sky as bringer of our demise comes hurtling through the atmosphere towards them :grin:
I'm sure that's an episode of black mirror. :lol:
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by jameso » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:42 pm

u02sgb wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:35 pm
But I don't expect anyone will care ... Is all we can do boycott Amazon etc?
Actually... makes me livid that there's nothing people won't f up for profits.
To be fair to SpaceX the profits are intended to go towards getting to Mars rather than pursuit of pure profit. That's the story (which I tend to believe) anyway.

Don't think these satellites are intended for mobile use. Mainly for internet to areas that aren't currently will served.
Going to Mars :grin: Those with the brains and money to do something about the worlds problems play with space toys.
"What would Bill say.." :grin:

(Edited to lower rant levels)

u02sgb
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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by u02sgb » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:08 am

Those with the brains and money to do something about the worlds problems play with space toys.
To be fair to Musk (he "is" SpaceX) that's just one of the world's problems he thinks he's solving.

His other angle of attack is electric cars with Tesla. Whether Tesla are ultimately successful or not I think he can be credited with pushing the car manufacturers towards electric.

He's had a lot of (probably well deserved) bad publicity of late, but I think he has good intentions. He's an interesting guy.

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Re: Admiring the night sky - for how much longer?

Post by jameso » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:56 am

^ credit to him for electric cars yes, but Teslas are hardly everyman cars like Toyota's. And (sorry, not arguing with you here, just my take on it all!) anyone that thinks getting to Mars is a priority for us either ruled by ego or an idiot, imo. Carl Sagan could tell us more about what understanding space can teach us about sustaining life on earth than any billionaire businessman or anything we'll get as a species from sending someone to Mars. However, I'll eat my words if he does a Gates Foundation kind of thing and turns out to have a bigger plan - ie get investment then spin it all back towards something a bit more practical. Could happen.

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