New IAU center to focus on solutions to satellite interference in astronomical observations

February 17, 2022 | UW NEWS

This image of Venus and the Pleiades shows the tracks of Starlink satellites. The reflective surfaces of the satellites, coupled with the fact that they are orbiting around Earth, mean that astronomical observations that require very long exposures capture “tracks” of the satellites in their images.  This image by Torsten Hansen of Germany won third place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Light Pollution.

“We’re witnessing a new era as skies fill with thousands of bright satellites,” said Meredith Rawls, a research scientist with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the DiRAC Institute at the UW. “In just the last two years, astronomers have realized this will impact our ability to achieve science goals from ground-based facilities like Rubin Observatory.”