Not only is climate change devastating our planet, but it is also beginning to prevent astronomers from studying others.
Many of the world's most powerful telescopes are struggling to observe the cosmos as the climate around them changes, according to ScienceAlert. Rising temperatures and other changing environmental conditions are beginning to block the view of instruments that want to study space.
Some of the problems stem from rising temperatures, such as the problems facing the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, according to research published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
If the temperature rises too much, then the air in the observer's dome becomes turbulent and destroys the image quality during observations. Although the team of European physicists and astronomers behind the research cannot directly link the issue to climate change, ScienceAlert reports, they know it is caused by changing weather conditions.
For example, the study found that worsened storm seasons create winds and weather patterns that change too quickly for astronomers to adjust, even when their observatories are far away. the storm itself. “This limits the contrast capabilities of the instrument and could limit studies of exoplanets,” the scientists wrote in the paper.
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is also located in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth outside of Antarctica. While the rest of the world has warmed by an average of one degree Celsius since the pre-industrial era, Atacama has warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius in the last four decades.
The VLT was simply not designed for such hot conditions. First of all, its cooling system does not work properly if the temperature at sunset is above 16 degrees Celsius. However, over the years, there have been an increasing number of occasions when end-of-day temperatures have exceeded this threshold.
Therefore, the most advanced telescopes in the world were not made for today's temperatures and put serious obstacles in their observations of space.