ann24009 — Announcement

CPS Urges Action In First Recommendations Paper

The International Astronomical Union’s centre of expertise on satellite constellations has set out its position on how to address the impact of these constellations on astronomy

14 March 2024

The IAU Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference (CPS), which is co-hosted by NSF’s NOIRLab and the SKAO, has released a paper entitled Call to Protect the Dark and Quiet Sky from Harmful Interference by Satellite Constellations that states its recommendations for the mitigation of satellite constellations’ impact on astronomy. The document is the culmination of 18 months’ work by a multidisciplinary group of experts, including astronomers, industry representatives and policy advisors, led by Gyula I. G. Józsa of MPIfR, and represents the view of the IAU Centre on what steps should now be taken to address the issue.

The 30-page document summarises the current understanding of the effects of satellite constellations on professional optical and radio astronomy, as well as humanity’s connection with the night sky, including its cultural significance and its importance to amateur astronomers. It proposes a range of measures and mitigation strategies for different stakeholders, including the astronomy community itself, but also industry and regulators.

The paper also calls for satellite operators to adopt voluntary mitigation measures, as well as outlining the regulatory measures that are needed at both the national and international level.

“We want this position paper not only to raise awareness and increase policymakers’ understanding of the problem, but also to be a resource that members of the astronomical community can call upon — wherever they’re based in the world — to deliver these key messages about what we are facing and the constructive route forward,” says Andrew Williams from the CPS Policy Hub, which led the work.

Richard Green, Interim Director of the CPS, added “The next step is to approach regulators to discuss how we could implement these recommendations, while continuing to collaborate with the satellite industry and encourage companies to voluntarily incorporate mitigations to reduce their impact on dark and quiet skies.”

The paper’s publication comes less than two years after the creation of the international centre. It follows recent successes in raising awareness of the issue at the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023, as well as a string of events which brought together representatives of astronomy, industry, government, academia and beyond to discuss current studies and mitigation options. The most recent of these events was the IAU Symposium on Astronomy and Satellite Constellations: Pathways Forward, held in October 2023.

More information 

NSF’s NOIRLab (National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the International Gemini Observatory (a facility of NSF, NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and KASI–Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory (operated in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.

The IAU is the international astronomical organization that brings together more than 12,000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The International Astronomical Union’s Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference (IAU CPS) is a global organization co-hosted by the US-based NSF’s NOIRLab and the SKA Observatory (SKAO), under the auspices of the IAU. The CPS facilitates global coordination of efforts by the astronomical community in concert with observatories, space agencies, industry, regulators and other sectors to help mitigate the negative consequences of satellite constellations on astronomy.

The SKAO, formally known as the SKA Observatory, is an inter-governmental organization composed of Member States from five continents. Its mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation. Headquartered in the UK, its two telescope arrays will be constructed in Australia and South Africa and be the two most advanced radio telescope networks on Earth. Through the development of innovative technologies and its contribution to addressing societal challenges, the SKAO will play its part to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and deliver significant benefits across its membership and beyond. The SKAO recognises and acknowledges the Indigenous peoples and cultures that have traditionally lived on the lands on which the SKAO facilities are located.



Mathieu Isidro
Communications and Outreach Lead
IAU Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky From Satellite Constellation Interference

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Director of Communications/NOIRLab Head of Communications, Education & Engagement
Cell: +1 520 461 0433/+49 173 38 72 621

Josie Fenske
Jr. Public Information Officer

About the Announcement



Orion Nebula with Satellite Trails – CPS Position Paper
Orion Nebula with Satellite Trails – CPS Position Paper