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Toward a greater good: TMT & Starlink

5 Feb 2020, 01:00 UTC
Toward a greater good: TMT & Starlink
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[N.B. This post has been bouncing around in my head since I was in Hawaii for the American Astronomical Society Meeting several weeks ago. I haven’t written it yet because I suspect I’m going to piss off everyone, and that is actually not a goal, but sometimes finding the greatest good requires pissing off everyone, and I mean everyone.]

While I was at AAS I saw two different groups of humans talking about how their/our heritage by preserving the sky. They talked about how preserving their culture included preserving the sky; a sky that is sacred.

I also saw two different groups of people saying that culture is nice; saying they’d do what they could to preserve cultural heritages, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do because it advances greater things.

One of these groups – in both situations – was astronomers.

TL;DR 1 – Starlink: We are at a turning point. We have a choice to launch Starlink and other satellite constellations that will provide internet access to people in rural and remote places, or we can deny people the internet to make it easier for astronomers to do ground-based astronomy, in the process denying them ...

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