A study conducted by scientists through the Netherlands-based LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) telescope observed low-frequency radio waves from Starlink satellite constellations scattered across the sky. The authors concluded that: these devices leak “unintentional electromagnetic radiation” that harms astronomy.

LOFAR pointed its antennae at 58 Starlink satellites as it passed the observatory. According to the team, 47 of them were emitting radio light in the 110 to 188 megahertz range. This spectrum includes frequencies between 150 and 153 MHz, protected by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). and it is reserved for radio astronomy only.

Speaking to the ZME Science website, first author of the paper, Federico Di Vruno, spectrum manager for the SKA telescope consortium, likens interference from satellites to a person who, after spending a few minutes in a dark room, receives the light directly from a flashlight. in your eyes.

Explosion of satellites in low Earth orbit

Satellites in low Earth orbit could reach 100,000 within ten years.

Radio frequency leakage is a problem that radio astronomers have grappled with for some time, whose job it is to listen for very weak signals from the Universe. in this way most radio telescopes are built in places with special shields against terrestrial interference..

But the deployment of large satellite constellations capable of providing broadband internet, such as Starlink, OneWeb, and Kuiper, has paved the way for an entirely new reality.

Although today’s population of about 8,000 orbiting satellites is huge compared to a decade ago, it’s just a shadow of the up to 100,000 estimates of objects in this orbit over the next decade.

What can satellite operators do for astronomy?

The authors are working on technical mitigations in partnership with satellite operators.

Although the study reached the maximum radiation level that each constellation of satellites must meet regulatory limits for emissions intended in a particular band, these limits do not apply if these emissions are unintentional. This means that legislation only applies where it is caused by the interference. “intentionally emitted signals for radio communication or other purposes”says study.

However, the authors are working in partnership with SpaceX., Owns Starlink to reduce the harmful effects of satellites on astronomy. The next generation of devices will already be released with changes that reduce the impact of these harmful emissions on astronomy.

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Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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