Streetlight hack could protect astronomy from urban light pollution

Streetlight hack could protect astronomy from urban light pollution

News |
By Wisse Hettinga

StealthTransit developed a system for the mitigation of bright satellite impact on astronomy


A study published earlier this year found that stars are disappearing from the sky at an average rate of 10% per year. This trend affects even the world’s most remote observatories. Germany-based startup StealthTransit recently tested a solution to this growing issue.

“Unfortunately, this problem haunts almost all observatories today,” Vlad Pashkovsky, StealthTransit’s founder and CEO, told in an email. “Modern telescopes are highly sensitive and feel the impact of outdoor lighting of cities located at the distance of 50 or even 200 kilometers [30 to 120 miles]. This means that virtually every observatory on Earth either already needs, or will need in the future 10 years, protection from the light of large cities.”

StealthTransit’s solution relies on three components: A simple device that makes LED lights flicker at a very high frequency that is imperceptible to the human eye, a GPS receiver, and a specially designed shutter on the telescope’s camera that can blink in sync with the LED lights. The GPS technology guides the telescope’s shutter to open only during the fleeting moments when the LED lights are switched off.

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