Satellite Constellations 1 Workshop

CTIO Mayall 4m DECam: A train of SpaceX Starlink satellites is seen in the night sky in this image captured with DECam on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) by astronomers Clara Martínez-Vázquez and Cliff Johnson.

The National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab and the AAS, with support from NSF, are hosting the Satellite Constellations 1 (SATCON1) workshop virtually from 29 June to 2 July 2020. The first two days are open to people interested in mitigating the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy.

This workshop will gather together astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy-makers, and other stakeholders and interested parties to discuss, understand, and quantify the impacts of large satellite constellations on astronomy and the human experience of the night sky. The goal is to work collectively towards effective solutions to mitigate those impacts and to publish them in a white paper which will be widely distributed. As launches and deployments of these satellite constellations have already begun, and new launches are planned for every few weeks, time is of the essence. 

As the central goal of the workshop process, we plan to write a white paper with recommendations that include quantitative metrics.

In the weeks before the workshop, four working groups are drafting a report summarizing the current state of knowledge in four areas (1) synthesizing results from ground-based observations of satellites and identify future observing program needs; (2) examining the current status of simulations for assessment of impact and need for further refinement; (3) exploring mitigation through lab measurement of satellite surface reflection and detector performance as well as operational strategies; and (4) developing a set of metrics for protection of Optical/IR observations based on the results of the other working groups. Their findings will be shared with registered attendees and other stakeholders in a document a couple of weeks before the workshop and will be presented and discussed during the first two days of the workshop. Through the outcome of the discussions, revisions will be made and a white paper will result with recommendations that include quantitative metrics and an understanding on the impact on the science as well as our cultural heritage. This white paper will then be widely disseminated.  

When are the conference dates? 

Days 1 and 2, Monday, 29 June and Tuesday, 30 June, are open to astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy-makers, and other stakeholders. The first two days will be devoted to sharing results from the four working groups and discussion.

Days 3 and 4, Wednesday, 1 July and Thursday, 2 July, will focus on the working groups (and highly interested attendees) merging information from the discussions and the pre-workshop document into produce a final white paper.

We will meet for four hours each day, in two 2-hour blocks: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm ET and 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET. 

Where can you find the conference? Online via ZOOM.

Schedule: We will meet for four hours each day, in two 2-hour blocks: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm ET and 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET. The first two days will be devoted to sharing results from the four working groups. Days 3 and 4 will be focused on merging information from the four working groups into a single white paper.

View the Workshop Schedule 

Attend the first two days by registering below. All attendees must register to receive a unique zoom link to the workshop. There is no fee. The registration deadline will be June 22, 2020.

Register for the Workshop 

 


The Scientific Organizing Committee:

  • Jeff Hall (Lowell Observatory, LPRISD Chair), Co-Chair
  • Constance Walker (NOIRLab & IAU), Co-Chair
  • Lori Allen (NOIRLab) 
  • Amanda Bauer (Rubin Observatory / NOIRLab) 
  • Richard Green (Steward Observatory) 
  • Kelsie Krafton (AAS)
  • James Lowenthal (Smith College, LPRISD)
  • Joel Parriott (AAS)
  • Phil Puxley (AURA)  
  • Patrick Seitzer (U. Michigan, LPRISD, modeling expert)
  • Tony Tyson (UC Davis, Rubin Obs.)