12 July 2021

Press Conference to Follow Satellite Constellations 2 (SATCON2) Workshop

PRESS RELEASE

** Contact details appear below. **

SATCON2 Workshop Poster
The image on this poster shows the double star Albireo in Cygnus crossed by Starlink satellite trails in late December 2019. Click on the image for a high-resolution version of the poster (2.1-MB JPG). Credit: NSF’s NOIRLab, AAS, NSF, AURA, Rafael Schmall.

On Friday, 16 July 2021, astronomers will discuss findings from the Satellite Constellations 2 (SATCON2) workshop during a virtual press conference hosted by NSF’s NOIRLab and the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The briefing, to be conducted via Zoom, will begin at 4:00 pm US Eastern Daylight Time (20:00 UTC) and last 1 hour. Registration is free to accredited media representatives; instructions appear below.

SATCON2 will gather more than 350 astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy experts, and other stakeholders from 40 countries to discuss how to implement the strategies and recommendations emerging from SATCON1 to minimize the negative impacts of satellite constellations on astronomy and the night sky.

SATCON2 Objectives

  1. Define and quantify resources, metrics, and collaborations needed to implement the SATCON1 recommendations, many of which will require substantial effort and funds to address.
  2. Engage astronomers and satellite operators collaboratively in exploring policy frameworks and developing policy strategies for operations in low Earth orbit (LEO).
  3. Increase the diversity of stakeholders and perspectives contributing to address both the challenges and the opportunities that the industrialization of space creates for astronomers, satellite operators, and all of humanity.

Four working groups will present draft proposals for discussion at SATCON2. Over several weeks following the workshop, the four working groups will revise their drafts based on the workshop outcomes. The Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC) will then combine the reports, write an executive summary, and release the full report for public viewing.

To encourage frank and open discussion among all stakeholders, we are not inviting representatives of the news media to the SATCON2 sessions in which the four working groups and the attendees discuss the draft reports. However, media representatives are welcome to attend the Community Engagement Working Group Town Hall on Wednesday, 14 July, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm EDT (register here), as well as the press conference on Friday. All the material presented at the workshop will be embargoed until after the press conference. 

Briefing Participants

  1. Connie Walker (NSF’s NOIRLab), SATCON2 co-chair
  2. Jeff Hall (Lowell Observatory), SATCON2 co-chair
  3. Meredith Rawls (University of Washington), Observations Working Group chair
  4. Jonathan McDowell (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian) and Rob Seaman (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory), Algorithms Working Group co-chairs
  5. Aparna Venkatesan (University of San Francisco) and James Lowenthal (Smith College), Community Engagement Working Group co-chairs
  6. Richard Green (University of Arizona), Policy Working Group chair
  7. Joel Parriott and Kelsie Krafton (American Astronomical Society)

Registration

To register for the press conference, go to http://bit.ly/satcon2. Upon approval by the AAS Press Office, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect via Zoom. The deadline to register is 12:00 pm EDT (16:00 UTC) on Friday, 16 July.

Register for the 14 July Town Hall   Register for the 16 July Briefing

Space at the press conference is limited. If we are not able to accommodate you on Zoom, you may watch the briefing live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel, NOIRLab YouTube channel, or NOIRLab's Facebook page, but you will not be able to ask questions.

Contact

Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 857-891-5649
Amanda Kocz
NSF's NOIRLab Press Officer
+1 626-524-5884

NOIRLab's version of this media advisory:
https://noirlab.edu/public/announcements/ann21026/

NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (a facility of NSF, NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and KASI–Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (operated in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O'odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership (approx. 8,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, which it achieves through publishing, meeting organization, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.

The SATCON2 workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Astronomical Society (AAS).