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Atacama Desert glow

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:33 pm
by brian livesey
We might not think that light pollution would be a problem in the Atacama Desert, where some of the World's largest telescopes are located. But, in mid-November, astronomers scaling a Chilean peak reserved for the giant Magellan Telescope were aghast to see new road lights along Chile's North-South Highway, sending out an hazy glow from 1,700 metres below.
The light pollution could play havoc with sensitive instruments: "It's like putting an oil rig in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef," said astronomy Prof. Guillermo Blanc at the University of Chile.
Despite Chile being a major player in observational astronomy, over the past thirty years light pollution has increased considerably in the country: "There is an ongoing concern that ground-based astronomy is at risk long-term. There just are not many pristine sites left," said Patrick McCarthy the president of the Giant Magellan Telescope, that will be constructed at Las Campanas Observatory.
"We're trying to answer fundamental questions," said Prof. Blanc. "That's something that belongs to humanity. And we think we have a duty, as a country, to protect it."

Re: Atacama Desert glow

Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:22 pm
by Brian
Sadly, why do I not find this surprising? :(