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Re: (IAAC) FWD: Iridium flares



>Forwarded without Dr. Skiff's permission...
>
>------- Forwarded Message
>
>Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 13:19:47 -0700
>From: bas@lowell.edu (Brian Skiff)
>To: aavso-discussion@physics.mcmaster.ca
>Subject: Iridium flares
>
>
>     Just to put in a dissenting voice on these events, which everyone
>seems to enjoy so much:  these satellites and their successors (hundreds
>more on the way)  are the death knell of ground-based astronomy both in
>the visible and at radio wavelengths.  How long will it be before one of
>these wonderous -7 flares happens right where I'm pointing my photoelectric
>photometer and physically destroys it (and the project I've been running
>with that tube for 14 years)?  It will very soon not be possible to take
>an image of any kind without getting these and their fainter brethren
>screwing things up---not just aesthetically, but ruining photometry from
>the scattered light, misleading object-detection algorithms, etc.  Already
>we records satellite trails by the hundred each night we observe with
>our small Schmidt camera.  These pager-satellites are also broadcasting
>at a frequency adjacent to the OH band in the radio, making study of this
>molecule in interstellar space basically impossible.  The "agreement"
>that you read about in S&T says merely that they won't blast out the
>western hemisphere eight hours during the night (radio astronomy works 24/7,
>in case you hadn't noticed).  It's the beginning of the end folks---do your
>observing _now_, while you can.  And since putting one of these satellites
>up probably costs about as much as the entire US astronomy budget for a
>year, guess who loses....all so teenagers can carry a pager around (heaven
>forbid that they might miss a call from their friends!).
>     Sorry to sound like a reactionary and a recidivist, but every time
>you see one of these things, don't cheer, because they are bad news for
>astronomy.
>
>\Brian
>
>------- End of Forwarded Message
I couldn't agree more but will not looking at these "events" change anything?  
Dave 

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