Distorted space: as the Earth warms up, space exploration becomes blurry

Earth's climate influenced space exploration

The astronomers identified a link between the processes of heating the Earth and the study of the outer space. It turns out that as the temperatures rise on our planet, the space becomes more and more blurry. It is due to the fact that the most powerful telescopes were not built to match the changing temperature regime and it interferes with observing the night sky. The scientists have provided data analysis for the past 30 years.

They were obtained from the Paranal Observatory in Chile. It houses one of the world's most powerful telescopes. The astronomers working with it have identified several points where the climate changes on the Earth worsen the processes of astronomical observations.

At a time when the average temperature on the planet rose by 1 degree Celsius, in the Atacama Desert, where the observatory is located, the temperature regime has changed over the past 40 years by 1.5 degrees. The telescope used for space exploration was not designed for conditions like that. Its cooling system does not work properly if the sunset temperature is above 16 degrees Celsius.

And in recent years, the air temperature during the observation period more and more often exceeds the permissible threshold. It means that when the dome of the telescope is opened, its temperature is higher than the temperature of the internal equipment.

That fact leads to a decrease in the resolution of images, and the resulting effect the astronomers call a dome vision. Technically, the high temperature causes turbulence inside the dome, and it degrades images by creating a blurry effect. But outside the dome, the background temperature has an effect, causing turbulence in the atmosphere. The scientists recorded that fact, noting that it also greatly degrades the quality of the images obtained.

The astronomers cannot directly link what is happening with the changes in climatic conditions on the Earth, but a number of factors indicates this reason and they speak of a great potential threat posed by climatic warming.

The telescope is equipped with a variety of modern instruments and devices, but all of them turned out to be sensitive to local atmospheric changes, and it limits the study of the outer space. In order to continue the research further, completely new engineering solutions are required, due to that the telescopes can not respond to warming on the Earth.