Faint orbital debris that threatens satellites not being monitored closely enough, warn astronomers

Faint orbital debris that threatens satellites not being monitored closely enough, warn astronomers
Examples of light curves extracted from the survey images for faint debris tracks. Owing to the strategies employed by the astronomers, stars appear as near-vertical streaks in the image thumbnails, while the objects of interest manifest as short trails. A significant degree of brightness variation can be seen for both examples. Credit: Blake et al., ASR, 2020

University of Warwick astronomers are warning that orbital debris posing a threat to operational satellites is not being monitored closely enough, as they publish a new survey finding that over 75% of the orbital debris they detected could not be matched to known objects in public satellite catalogs.


The astronomers are calling for more regular deep surveys of orbital debris at high altitudes to help characterize the resident objects and better determine the risks posed to the active satellites that we rely on for essential services, including communications, weather monitoring and navigation.

The

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