IAU Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference
In February 2022 NSF’s NOIRLab and the SKA Observatory (SKAO), an intergovernmental organization headquartered in the UK, were named as co-hosts of the newly established IAU Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Interference. The center will concentrate on mitigating the negative interference caused by the large satellite constellations but NOIRLab will continue to work at different levels to counter the negative effects of all kinds of light pollution.
This image was taken on 26 December 2019 and shows the double star Albireo in Cygnus with Starlink satellites moving across the field.
Credit: Rafael Schmall
The International Astronomical Union called for the establishment of this center in 2021. The center’s mission is to coordinate efforts and unify voices across the global astronomical community with regard to the protection of the dark and quiet sky from satellite constellations. The center will bring together astronomers, satellite operators, regulators, and the wider community and will act as a bridge between all stakeholders to protect the dark and quiet skies. The center builds on the vast amount of work carried out by the two host institutions and more generally the astronomy community, recognizing the various interests of different observatories according to wavelength, existing regulations, and expected impact.
The vision of the center is to become the leading voice for astronomical matters that relate to the protection of the dark and quiet sky from satellite constellations and to act as a hub of information and resources to which any stakeholder group will be able to contribute and from which they can draw in support of their own activities.
Read more about the Centre here.
Other work with the International Astronomical Union
NOIRLab staff have spearheaded IAU’s Commission B7 (formerly Commission 50) since it was established in 2009. At least three NOIRLab staff members have been President of the Commission. It aims to work with relevant national and international authorities to set up legal policies and guidelines for the protection of astronomical quality of areas suitable for observational research and/or meriting astronomical world heritage status.