Satellite Streaks in Surveys of the Sky

Sep 22, 2020 - 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Online — Zoom (meeting ID 992 1875 1554, password 094305) and YouTube

Dr. Andrew Bradshaw (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Satellite Streaks in Surveys of the Sky

Our night sky is changing and the stars are not what they seem. New constellations made up of tens of thousands of streaming satellites will forever change our view of the cosmos. Like mirrors in orbit, these satellites reflect the view of the Sun from hundreds of kilometers above the Earth well after sunset, leaving bright trails in images captured by professional and amateur astronomers alike. Nobody knows to what extent this will affect our view of the Universe, in particular the deep and wide views collected by surveys such as the Vera Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Find out about how astronomers are working to understand the effects of satellites on astronomical observations, how they can avoid them, and how they are collaborating with industry to minimize their impact on our shared sky.

Dr. Andrew BradshawBorn in Turkey and raised in Dallas, Andrew attended Texas A&M for his undergraduate education in physics. He is, however, a Californian at heart! He moved to the University of California, Davis to pursue his PhD, where his thesis focused on gravitational lensing and laboratory studies of the LSST camera. In particular, he worked on understanding how imperfections in the camera’s pixels can result in inaccurate astronomy. Even though he spent eight years working towards his PhD, he didn't finish everything he wanted to do! He joined the camera team at SLAC last fall to help finish construction of the LSST focal plane, to optimize its performance, and to prepare it for surveying the sky.