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Radio Interference from Satellites is Threatening Astronomy

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/27/2023 06:50PM

Radio Interference from Satellites is Threatening Astronomy

Radio telescopes are facing a problem. All satellites -- whatever their function -- use radio waves to transmit information to the surface of the Earth. Just as light pollution can hide a starry night sky, radio transmissions can swamp out the radio waves astronomers use to learn about black holes, newly forming stars, and the evolution of galaxies. With tens of thousands of satellites expected to go into orbit in the coming years and increasing use on the ground, the radio spectrum is getting crowded. Radio quiet zones – regions, usually located in remote areas, where ground-based radio transmissions are limited or prohibited – have protected radio astronomy in the past. As the problem of radio pollution continues to grow, scientists, engineers and policymakers will need to figure out how everyone can effectively share the limited range of radio frequencies.


  • Daniel_V [Daniel Vrolijk]
  • 03/28/2023 07:27PM
As an amateur radio operator I know RFI is an issue on the HF bands. The major issue is that radio telescopes have so much more noise to deal with because they have to use many very and I mean VERY sensitive receivers and Low noise amplfiers(LNA's) There is a lot more that goes into them. Everything from a bad wall wart or a streetlight can cause a major issue for HF but it's a million times worse at the frequencies the radio telescopes use.

Good point Daniel.

Thanks for your comments.

In the long run, I'm not sure we'll be able to find a workable solution to this problem for radio astronomy.

Guy Pirro
  • Daniel_V [Daniel Vrolijk]
  • 03/31/2023 07:57PM
Only time will tell!