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经济学人下载:被光闪瞎(1)

Source: Economist    2019-06-12  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

It was quite a show: a train of illuminated dots moving across the sky, many of them as bright as Polaris, the north star.
这是一场相当精彩的表演:一列发光的小点在天空中移动,其中许多亮得像北极星一样。

These were not new astronomical objects, however.
但这些并不是新的天文体。

Rather, they were the first tranche of satellites for Starlink, a project intended to provide internet access across the globe.
相反,它们是星链项目的第一批卫星,该项目旨在为全球提供互联网接入。

These were launched into orbit on May 24th by SpaceX, an American rocketry firm.
5月24日,这些卫星由美国火箭公司SpaceX发射进入轨道。

Seeing satellites from the ground with the naked eye is nothing new.
在地面肉眼观看这些卫星并不是什么新鲜事。

But astronomers (professional and amateur) were surprised, and unhappy,
但天文学家们(专业的和业余的)

at just how many and how bright the Starlink satellites appeared to be.
对星链卫星的数量和亮度感到惊讶和不快。

Quite a few of them took to Twitter to raise the alarm and post pictures and videos of the blazing birds.
不少人在推特上发出警报,并上传了照片和视频

Their worry was that these satellites and their successors could change the night sky for ever.
他们担心这些卫星和它们的继任者会永远改变夜空。

If the initial 60 members of the Starlink network were already causing noticeable light pollution,
他们的理由是,如果最初的60个星链网络成员已经造成了明显的光污染

they reasoned, how bad would it get once the full constellation of 12,000 had been launched?
那么一旦12000个卫星全部发射完毕,情况会变得多么糟糕?

For those who enjoy watching the night sky for pleasure it would surely be sad,
对于那些以观赏夜空为乐的人来说,这无疑是悲哀的,

for it would more than triple the number of man-made objects in the firmament
因为这将使天空中的人造物体数量增加两倍多

and thus further degrade the natural beauty of the heavens—
从而进一步降低了天空的自然美—

a beauty already diminished in many places by light pollution from the ground.
由于地面上的光污染,许多地方的这种美已经减少了。

For those involved in investigating the universe scientifically, though, it may be more than merely sad.
然而对于那些参与科学研究宇宙的人来说,这可能不仅仅是悲伤。

In some cases it could be job-threatening.
在某些情况下,这可能会威胁到工作。

Preliminary analysis shows, for example, that almost every image from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile,
例如,初步分析表明几乎所有来自智利大型综合巡天望远镜的图像,

currently nearing completion and intended to photograph the entire available sky every few nights when it is operational,
目前已接近完工,并打算每隔几个晚上拍摄整个可用的天空,

could contain a satellite trail. These can be edited out, but each correction destroys valuable data.
可能包含一条卫星轨迹。这些数据可以在编辑中删除,但每次修正都会破坏有价值的数据。

It is possible that some experiments,
有可能一些实验,

such as regularly timed observations of the variation in behaviour of astronomical objects, will no longer be feasible.
如对天体行为变化的定时观测,将不再可行。

Optical astronomers thus have cause to be nervous about Starlink.
因此,光学天文学家有理由对星链感到紧张。

For radio astronomers its impact may be even more serious.
对射电天文学家而言,其影响可能更加严重。

The satellites' mode of operation necessarily requires them to send radio signals back to Earth,
卫星的操作模式必然要求它们向地球发送无线信号,

all of which will be stronger than any signal arriving from deep space.
所有这些信号将比来自外太空的任何信号都强。

This can be accommodated to a certain extent by knowing which frequencies the satellites are broadcasting on,
通过了解卫星广播的频率,并进行相应的调整,

and adjusting accordingly. But exactly how badly radio observatories are affected
可以在一定程度上适应这种情况。但无线电观测站受影响的程度

will depend on how well the satellites manage to confine their broadcasts within those frequencies, which remains to be seen.
将取决于卫星如何把它们的广播控制在这些频率范围内,这还有待观察。

Elon Musk, SpaceX's boss, initially dismissed astronomers' concerns,
起初SpaceX的CEO埃隆·马斯克对天文学家的担忧不予理睬,

tweeting at the weekend that there were "already 4,900 satellites in orbit, which people notice ~0% of the time.
他周末发推特表示“已经有4900颗卫星进入轨道,几乎没人注意到。

Starlink won't be seen by anyone unless looking very carefully & will have ~0% impact on advancements in astronomy."
除非非常仔细地观察,否则任何人都看不到星链并且它对天文学的进步的影响约为0%。”


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