View Full Version : Should astronomy only be carried out in space?

2003-Mar-05, 10:36 PM
I was thinking about a comment Laser Jock made on this http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=4101&forum=2&37 post about radio interference affecting radio astronomy and it got me thinking.

As I understand it, there are only a finite amount of frequencies that can be used to transmit between earth and communication satellites. I believe that these are also the frequencies that radio astronomers are most keen on listening to. Also, light pollution, not to mention the weather prevents us getting a clear view of the skies.

So my question is this... Should we divert the money currently spent on Earth based observation systems into more space based platforms? Would this allow us a greater view of the heavens, or would it make things too specialised?

I'd be curious to hear your views on the matter, the pros and cons.

By way of my background, I'm in a pretty badly light polluted area, and my knowledge of radio astronomy is pretty limited.

As ever I look forward to reading your comments.

2003-Mar-05, 10:55 PM
Well, it would be really expensive, and it would severely limit the amount of astronomy that could be done. Other than that, no problem. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

JS Princeton
2003-Mar-06, 02:25 AM
The atmosphere is basically transparent to optical and radio waves, and adaptave optics, interferometry, and other clever techniques have allowed us to get better and better views of the unknown from the ground. Ground-based observations are always cheaper on a dollars per time basis than space-based. Some observations can only be done from space. We need both.

2003-Mar-06, 03:35 PM
What JSP said. Hubble is great, but it also cost something like 2 billion dollars. You could build thousands of Hubble-sized telescopes on the ground - and make good use of them - for 2 billion dollars.

2003-Mar-07, 05:12 PM
I respectfully disagree. I think all astronomy should be done from space--we should immediately start a program to place all amateur astronomers in space.

2003-Mar-07, 05:25 PM
And I'm sure you have no ulterior motives, kilopi, in wanting all amateur astronomers to get an all-expenses paid trip into space. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

2003-Mar-07, 05:27 PM
None whatsoever. I'd be glad to do my patriotic duty.