Characterizing the All-Sky Brightness of Satellite Mega-Constellations and the Impact on Astronomy Research


A rendering of a Starlink satellite with solar array extended. Image courtesy SpaceX

Measuring photometric brightness is a common tool for characterizaing satellites. However, characterizing satellite mega-constellations and their impact on astronomy research requires a new approach and methodology.

A few measurements of singular satellites are not sufficient to fully describe a mega-constellation and assess its impact on modern astronomical systems. Characterizing the brightness of a satellite mega-constellation requires a comprehensive measurement program conducting numerous observations over the entire set of critical variables. Utilizing Pomenis, a small-aperture and wide field-of-view astrograph, we developed an automated observing program to measure the photometric brightness of mega-constellation satellites. We report the summary results of 7631 separate observations and the statistical distribution of brightness for the Starlink, visored-Starlink, Starlink DarkSat, and OneWeb satellites.

Harrison Krantz, Eric C. Pearce, Adam Block

Comments: 26 pages, 24 figures, Proceedings of the 2021 AMOS Conference
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2110.10578 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2110.10578v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Harrison Krantz
[v1] Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:15:14 UTC (12,510 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.10578

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