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Home country: USA
Current location: Virginia
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Why do "Mega-constellations" Matter to the Dark Sky Community?

Experienced IDA observers in or near International Dark Sky Places have confirmed sightings of multiple Starlink satellites by the unaided eye in their final orbital positions. The satellites are brightest when fully illuminated by the Sun, which happens both during twilight as well as in a fully dark sky, depending on the observerís latitude and the time of year. The human eye can detect objects in the night sky as faint as magnitude 7. Starlink satellites have been observed at magnitudes between 4and 6, making them easily detected in the night sky.

The sheer number of satellites, combined with the brightness of the objects and the frequency of sightings, is a serious threat to the dark sky community. Astronomers, astrophotographers, and stargazers have all shared concerns about mega-constellations polluting the night sky.

What is IDA doing about it?
IDA has met with leaders at SpaceX and called on the company to lead the way in this emerging field as responsible stewards of the night sky by pursuing innovative engineering solutions that minimize the impact to astronomical research, astrophotography, and night sky observations.

We have also worked collaboratively with the International Astronomical Union and American Astronomical Society to better understand the impact that mega-constellations will have on the night sky, as well as represent unaided eye observation in the ongoing dialogue about minimizing the impacts of mega-constellations.



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