Archive for January 27, 2020

Appeal by Astronomers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 27, 2020 by telescoper

I apologize for being a bit late onto this but this is a very important initiative that tries to safeguard the sky from the plethora of satellite fleets that threaten to cause untold damage to major astronomical projects, especially surveys. I’ve signed the document and I hope you will also consider doing so.

Many of the readers of this blog will be aware of the fast-moving issue of satellite constellations, which is the launching of the first of potentially tens of thousands of communications satellites. The SpaceX Starlink cluster is one of these, but there will be others such as Amazon’s project Kuiper and Facebook Athena.
These satellite constellations will be detrimental to both optical and radio ground-based astronomy, from their reflected light and broadcasted emissions. Mitigating the effects of these satellites needs to be done quickly before services such as 5G internet from them are established in the coming months. Beyond that point, it will be harder to regulate them.
Organisations which represent our discipline such as the AAS, IAU, EAS and RAS are attempting to engage directly with SpaceX and others on this issue.
Please consider promptly adding your name to the appeal linked to in the post below.

Astronomers' Appeal

Safeguarding the Astronomical Sky (IT)

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THIS APPEAL HAS BEEN SIGNED BY

901+ ASTRONOMERS

VIEW SIGNATURES

(the refresh rate of the counter may slow down).

To sign/subscribefollow this link.

This is an international appeal by professional astronomers open for subscription to ask for an intervention from institutions and governments.

Astronomical observations from the ground can be greatly harmed by the ongoing deployment of large satellite fleets in preparation for the next generation of telecommunications.

For centuries the astronomical observations from the ground have led to exceptional progress in our scientific understanding of the Laws of Nature. Currently, the capability of astronomical instrumentation from the ground is endangered by the deployment of satellites fleets.

Through this international appeal and following the same concerns expressed by the International Astronomical Union, IAU [1] and other institutions, we raise a formal request for greater…

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Building Up

Posted in Maynooth with tags , , on January 27, 2020 by telescoper

On my way back from lunch today I saw the chance to get into shot both of the big cranes operating on the site of the new building going up on the North Campus at Maynooth University.  This new edifice is right next to the existing Science Building where my office is; part of the roof of the Science Building can be seen to the right of the new structure; it won’t be long until we’re hidden from view at least from the Kilcock Road, which is the road in the foreground of the picture.

I was quite impressed when I saw a big crane on site a few months ago, but then I realized that it was only there to help put up the much bigger white crane you can see in the middle of the picture!

Having been involved a little bit in the past in large campus construction projects elsewhere this one has followed a similar pattern. It always seems to take ages to do the preparatory work of laying foundations, services, drains and the like, but once that is done the actual building goes up quite rapidly.  I walk past this site every day and it’s fascinating to see the progress. Here’s what it was like last summer. We anticipate this part (phase 1) of the new construction to be completed by the end of this (calendar) year. I’m looking forward to the new building being opened, not least because the recent growth in student numbers is causing a bit of pressure on space.