we may have already passed the point of no return.” It’s almost like we’ve forgotten that we’re part of a larger universe, that we’re part of a larger system. We’ve forgotten that we’re part of Earth. “We are a part of nature, not apart from it,” Sousa-Silva said. “We are part of a larger system, and we need to recognize that our actions have consequences for the rest of the universe.”
Asteroid hunter Toni Santana-Ros faced bushfires and telescope shutdowns due to climate change, which can negatively impact astronomical observations and limit discoveries.
Toni Santana-Ros is an asteroid hunter who works at the University of Alicante in Spain. He is responsible for helping to pinpoint the risk of asteroids heading towards Earth. Last year, he and his team were able to identify an asteroid heading for the US-Canada border and determined it was small and would only produce a spectacular fireball.
Climate change is already having an effect on astronomy and the work of asteroid hunters like Santana-Ros. In November 2020, his telescopes were shut down due to bushfires in the region, and in February 2021, bushfire debris made its way into some of the telescopes, forcing astronomers to dismount them and clean out the soot.
A recent paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics looks at the effects of climate change on eight major optical telescopes around the world. The authors concluded that climate change will negatively impact the quality of astronomical observations and likely increase time lost due to bad site conditions.
It is not just full-on disasters that we have to worry about, but also changes in temperature, humidity and steady weather. These elements are crucial for telescopes to operate in tip-top shape. An increase in water vapor in the air will also absorb light that telescopes are trying to catch, making it harder to observe distant galaxies, exoplanets and other wonders of the universe.
The study authors suggest that when building future telescopes, climate change effects should be included in the site selection process. They also suggest that existing telescopes should adapt their design for changing climate conditions. However, even with these efforts, the barriers created by climate change may still be too great to overcome.
Climate change is a major problem that has altered our relationship with Earth. Industries still burn coal to make cheap power, and this has led to an increase in wildfires, cyclones, floods, and droughts. These disasters are making it harder for astronomers to do their work, and the effects of climate change on telescopes could lead to less observations and discoveries. Unless we act now to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of climate change will only worsen.