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Ground-Based Astronomy Will Likely End By 2050 Due To Pollution, Climate

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:00 PM
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Ground-Based Astronomy Will Likely End By 2050 Due To Pollution, Climate
Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.

Aircraft condensation trails - known as contrails - can dissipate, becoming indistinguishable from other clouds.

If trends in cheap air travel continue, says Professor Gerry Gilmore, the era of ground astronomy may come to an end much earlier than most had predicted. Aircraft along with climate change will contribute to increased cloud cover.

EDIT

"It is already clear that the lifetime of large ground-based telescopes is finite and is set by global warming," Professor Gilmore, from Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, told reporters recently in London. "There are two factors. Climate change is increasing the amount of cloud cover globally. The second factor is cheap air travel. "You get these contrails from the jets. The rate at which they're expanding in terms of their fractional cover of the stratosphere is so large that if predictions are right, in 40 years it won't be worth having telescopes on Earth anymore - it's that soon. "You either give up your cheap trips to Majorca, or you give up astronomy. You can't do both."

EDIT

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4755996.stm

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electron_blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:11 PM
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1. Hmmmm, maybe we'll run out of oil before then?
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