Skip to main content
62 votes

Why is Starlink polluting the night sky a big concern if we have space telescopes?

It's a problem because there are still lots and lots and lots of ground-based telescopes. Ground-based telescopes are still (by far) the biggest optical telescopes, and the cost of space telescopes ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
34 votes
Accepted

Why are fewer stars seen next to the horizon?

When you look towards the horizon you are looking through a much greater thickness of air. The air does absorb some light. Dense air near surface absorbs more, and if you look towards the horizon ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
26 votes

Telescope on drones to escape light pollution?

Yes, but not in the exact way you think of. To avoid light pollution it is better to go sideways. If you are in a light-polluted city, there would still be light pollution at an altitude of 400ft (...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
16 votes
Accepted

Will Starlink deface the night sky?

Satellites just add moving lights to the sky, they do not obscure stars. However, some may find that disrupting their view of what a sky should look like. The visual magnitude of starlink satellites ...
Anders Sandberg's user avatar
15 votes

Why is Starlink polluting the night sky a big concern if we have space telescopes?

To expand on the "space telescopes are expensive" aspect: Space telescopes cannot be maintained or repaired. This applies not just to things like optics and instruments, but also to space-...
Peter Erwin's user avatar
  • 17.1k
14 votes
Accepted

Realistic description of a sunrise viewed from the asteroid belt?

Light pollution is mostly caused by diffusion from the atmosphere—humidity and dust within it. This is not to say that there is no light pollution at all elsewhere, as rock reflects light and can ...
Pierre Paquette's user avatar
12 votes

Will Starlink deface the night sky?

A nightmare for star hopping I can only speak as an amateur astronomer with a 10-inch Dobsonian. My telescope has no GOTO or tracking, so if I want to find something interesting in the sky, I have to ...
Eric Duminil's user avatar
  • 1,395
12 votes
Accepted

Binoculars 10x50 in light polluted place

This is totally anecdotal, but based on my own observations with a pair of 10x50 binoculars on a light-polluted suburban street in South East England... Rings of Saturn: No Moons of Jupiter: Yes, all ...
JayFor's user avatar
  • 236
8 votes
Accepted

How does the illumination of the sky from the sun compare to that of the moon?

The question is not altogether well defined. One needs to specify what wavelength is being considered and at what position in the sky - since a twilight sky has a very significant gradient of sky ...
ProfRob's user avatar
  • 153k
7 votes

Why is Starlink polluting the night sky a big concern if we have space telescopes?

One thing I always like to add is that ground based telescopes benefit from being able to take huge amounts of data. The Vera Rubin Observatory will have a 3.5 Gigapixel camera. There are proposals to ...
I.P. Freeley's user avatar
7 votes

Why does light pollution make the night sky completely black without stars?

The city sky is not black. It is so bright it "washes out" the stars. You discern objects because of contrast between them and their background. Think of a polar bear against the snow. All ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 1,040
6 votes

How does the illumination of the sky from the sun compare to that of the moon?

As you probably know, the moon only shines by reflected sunlight and has a very low albedo. Its light is therefore only a tiny fraction of the light of the sun Even the light of the full moon varies, ...
Michael Walsby's user avatar
6 votes

What does the milky way look like from earth to the human eye without light pollution?

It is pretty obvious from a dark sky. Sky and Telescope have a simulation (using stellarium) of the sky with a limiting magnitude of 6.5 (about the limit with excellent eyesight and a very dark sky). ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
6 votes
Accepted

In what parts of the world is it impossible to view the night sky due to light pollution?

There's a recent study on this, based on satellite and ground observations around the world. According to the paper: The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of ...
j-g-faustus's user avatar
  • 1,301
6 votes

In what parts of the world is it impossible to view the night sky due to light pollution?

Googling for 'light pollution map' gives a pretty good looking result. Those things usually are created using satellite measurments that are susceptible to scattered light (by measuring the polarity ...
AtmosphericPrisonEscape's user avatar
6 votes

Looking for methods to preserve night vision

Your problems with shielding your eyes from light probably come because it is easy to shield them from direct light from the car lights, but hard to shield them from reflected car light coming from ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
6 votes

Why is Starlink polluting the night sky a big concern if we have space telescopes?

Space telescope Astronomy research published in Science and Nature: Ground-based telescopes (31.1%), spacecrafts (27.0%), space telescopes (22.8%). (ref) Number of professional telescopes affected: &...
bandybabboon's user avatar
  • 4,250
5 votes

My local night sky is so bright that I can only see the Moon, so would a low-cost telescope be any use?

While light pollution certainly makes things more challenging, there are a number of objects that tend to compete with light pollution well-enough to be enjoyed. I have done astronomy outreach events ...
Tim Campbell's user avatar
  • 1,561
5 votes

My local night sky is so bright that I can only see the Moon, so would a low-cost telescope be any use?

There is hope! You may be able to see some stars through a telescope even though you can't see them with your eye. For extended objects like sky brightness, nebulae, and the Moon and resolved planets, ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.6k
5 votes

When can I see the Milky Way from the Earth?

Most light pollution is scattered in the lower 6000 ft of the atmosphere (one mile) so you don't need to get terribly far from a city to get "out from under" the scatter. I live 30 miles (...
Woody's user avatar
  • 1,040
5 votes

When can I see the Milky Way from the Earth?

Wherever you have a dark place, you can see the Milky Way. Anywhere in the countryside, far from large cities might work. And it doesn't need to be a very far away - a few km may do the work, ...
Pere's user avatar
  • 1,760
5 votes

How high does light pollution reach into the sky?

Light pollution occurs because light from the ground refects off atoms in the atmosphere. So you can reduce light pollution either by getting away from light, or getting above the atmosphere. 50% of ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
5 votes

Telescope on drones to escape light pollution?

"Above the light pollution" is really high and the stratosphere is a good starting point, because most of the atmospheric light scattering happens in the troposphere. Quite a few technical ...
fraxinus's user avatar
  • 2,839
4 votes

How will "modern equipment" allow the Royal Observatory to now avoid some of the effects of light pollution at Greenwich?

It's a little hard to guess what research can be done there -- Today, Greenwich is close to the worst place on Earth to have an observatory: At sea level, in the light dome of one of the largest ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 7,640
4 votes

Is sky-glow affected by height?

Sky-glow is a generic term for the diffuse light not due to the sun, moon or stars (or aurorae, I suppose). Much of it is light pollution from the ground, some is the zodiacal light from dust in space,...
Anders Sandberg's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Limiting magnitudes for different telescopes

Your calculated estimate may be about correct for the limiting magnitude of stars, but lots of what you might want to see through a telescope consists of extended objects-- galaxies, nebulae, and ...
antlersoft's user avatar
  • 3,455
3 votes

Is it possible to view the Andromeda galaxy with the naked eye in Greece?

Assuming you mean Bortle class 4, then the Andromeda galaxy (M31) should be a fairly easy object with the naked eye. It won’t be particularly impressive, but rather will look like a hazy blob. On the ...
Dr Chuck's user avatar
  • 4,339
3 votes

Light pollution and apparent magnitude of objects in solar system

The answer is yes: dust is highly constrained to the ecliptic plane and so viewing from above the plane would result in less light that needs to be subtracted from observations of the solar corona. ...
eshaya's user avatar
  • 4,009
3 votes

Is there any official star gazing location list?

You may be out of luck. If you live pretty much anywhere in the North East, there are very few locations where you can see a truly dark sky. You might be able to get somewhere where you can see the ...
zephyr's user avatar
  • 15k
3 votes
Accepted

In an area with lots of light pollution, which clear sky clock parameter is most important?

I would agree that transparency is the more important item, but it does depend on what you are observing. Deep sky objects such as clusters, nebulae, and galaxies will benefit from the darker skies by ...
JohnHoltz's user avatar
  • 8,032

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible