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Night sky polluted by satellites?

  • 01-09-2022 11:33pm
    Registered Users Posts: 21,465 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm not an astronomer, but I love looking at the stars when it's dark and the sky is clear.

    Every time I do this recently, the brightest 'star' in the sky is always a satellite. (not the moon... smartass)

    Am I going mad, or have others noticed this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,547 ✭✭✭kyote00

    Elons star link thing is space pollution…..

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,273 ✭✭✭xxxxxxl

    How do we know there satellites. I remember living in the country with very little light pollution some nights you could see the milky way. In that environment starr would be on orders of magnitude brighter. It's a shame where I live hardly notice stars now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,066 ✭✭✭screamer

    Absolutely, the sky is full of them. A favourite pastime last summer was star gazing. I could count 13 to 15 satellites passing over each hour. Now, we quite like watching as the whizz by.

  • Registered Users Posts: 261 ✭✭BagofWeed

    As soon as you are in a dark place on a clear night you will almost immediately see one as you take a glance skywards. Full of them is correct.

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,787 ✭✭✭✭

    No just actual satellites. All sorts of varying sizes of debris.

    In the not too distant future this could literally make rocket launches impossibly dangerous.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,549 ✭✭✭Multipass

    I hoped this thread was about light pollution. Nevermind satellites, many people can hardly see the stars anymore thanks to the ultra bright LED lighting everywhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,465 ✭✭✭✭Akrasia

    You can see them moving in the sky, It used to be that you'd see the odd faint one, now they're brighter and because they're in lower orbit, they appear to be travelling faster

    Light pollution is a dose, we live on the edge of a town so it's not too bad for us here, but the neighbour insists on leaving their outdoor lighting on all night long so it's never properly dark unless I decide to go for a walk through some fields

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,273 ✭✭✭xxxxxxl

    Orionid meteor shower ? Perseid meteor shower was from jul to aug

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,173 ✭✭✭Gregor Samsa

    The Orionid meteor shower doesn't hit until October 21, and even then you'd expect to see a max of 10-20 per hour across the whole sky, not an average of one a second in one small section of the sky. Also, meteors usually have a colour to them, based on their chemical composition as they burn up in the atmosphere. Satellites are white or bluish-white. In an 8 second exposure, you'd also expect to see a variance in the brightness of a meteor, as it burns very quickly - there would be a taper in/and or out, and usually a brighter spot along the line. These are uniform brightness. Satellites do have a taper too, as they pass into the Earth's shadow, but you'd see that nearer the horizon, and it would occur over a longer stretch.

    The good thing about satellite "pollution" is that low orbit satellites are only visible for a couple of hours before and after sunset, while they're out of the Earth's shadow. That photo was taken at 22:30 last night, so just over 2 hours after sunset. As the nights get longer in autumn and winter, you'll see less and less of them during the night, as the sun won't be shining on them from our perspective. In June and July, we (in Ireland) have permanent astronomical twilight all night, so they would be visible all night. Later in the year, you'll see them early in the evening, but not later at night. Higher orbit satellites and those in a geosynchronous orbit don't appear to move across the sky in the same way, so appear to a casual observer as indistinguishable from a faint star, so we don't even notice them.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,935 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    You'd usually only see satellites for a period after sunset and before sunrise, IIRC? I.e. while they're still illuminated by the sun themselves?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭KilOit

    Love when i'm in Kerry or somewhere remote and look up to see the satellites, mostly just a light but can make out the space station when it passes, amazing to see how fast they wizz by knowing they are far beyond cruising altitude