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Thread: Telescopes 'worthless' by 2050

  1. #1
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    Telescopes 'worthless' by 2050

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    Telescopes 'worthless' by 2050

    Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  2. #2
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    Will we be able to afford more flying, or traveling? Assuming they are right, however, is their a revised map for good seeing locatons, away from clouds and contrails?

    I will be a little surprised if this prediction becomes true. Besides, judging from their picture, maybe they should consider all the visible obstruction caused by their secondary mirror structure instead of contrails.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  3. #3
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    Oh great....Hopefully they get the bio-diesel going well before then to squeeze an extra 20 years or so...

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    I'd bet the guy $100 that my telescope will be just fine in 2050. I look out my window now at a bright blue sky and do not see a single contrail. If air traffic is 10x more in 2050, 10 x 0 = 0. There will still be 0 contrails in my sky. Today's sky conditions just aren't right for producing contrails. A couple of weeks ago, we had perfect contrail weather and there were no fewer than 10 in the sky at any instant. On days like that, I can see 10x air traffic being a problem.

    As air travel becomes more affordable, certainly there will be more flights, but I don't think half price or even quarter price will double the flights. I'd love to jump on a plane and take a vacation now. It's not the airfare that holds me back. Even if my ticket were free, I just don't have the time off work to do it.

  5. #5
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    Considering that the air is cleaner today than it was 35 years ago, and will be cleaner still in the future, I think this guy needs to check his facts.

  6. #6
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    This is typical journalistic doomsaying. It it is not cataclysmic, it is not a story.

  7. #7
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    besides, over half of all telescopes purchased by consumers go unused 90% of the time, and half of the remaining 10% are used terrestrially. I won't say for what purpose
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  8. #8
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    For most of us that use our own telescopes, light pollution is a much larger problem (and will be an even larger problem in the future than it is now) than air pollution.

    Join the IDA: http://www.darksky.org/

  9. #9
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    Ironically, the term "fly over country" is itself evidence against this type of assertion. The overwhelmingly vast majority of land in the world is either unused or used by only an individual or two for largely non-polluting things. Perhaps things will get worse near the cities because of various factors, perhaps not. But out here in rural Pennsylvania, I very much doubt that I will have any issues in 2050 (If I live to be 71).

  10. #10
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    I dought it.

    If that was true for one reason or another- what a disater!

  11. #11
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    I guess it pays to live in the middle of nowhere (except for our winters, when it's too cold to do any stargazing).

    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    For most of us that use our own telescopes, light pollution is a much larger problem (and will be an even larger problem in the future than it is now) than air pollution.

    Join the IDA: http://www.darksky.org/
    I agree.

  12. #12
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    I agree that light pollution is the dominant bug-bear for most, but much of the light pollution can be filtered out or avoided if you are willing to adapt. Downsteam air pollution from coal-fired mills and power plants in Ohio (and other midwest states) gives us Mainers fits, including really high ozone levels in a state that is otherwise pretty healthy. It really stinks to be told (as an avid fly-fisherman) that I shouldn't keep eat the trout I catch because of the high levels of mercury that they are accumulating from the fallout. It also stinks to be told that due to high ozone levels, people with asthma should refrain from outdoor activities. My wife and I both have asthma and Maine is outdoor activities! We have a short pleasant season (typically spotty in May, and extending to spotty parts of October) in which you can spend time outdoors in jeans and a T-shirt, although you should always have fleece, sweatshirts, and windbreakers at hand, during summer evenings.

    BTW, for people in North America, Acadia is a beautiful national park, and those who love coastlines, coves, mountains, cliffs, and secluded beaches will cherish it after their first visit. Unfortunately, in the summer, Acadia often has really high ozone levels from those aforementioned midwest emittors.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    For most of us that use our own telescopes, light pollution is a much larger problem (and will be an even larger problem in the future than it is now) than air pollution.
    Precisely what I was thinking when reading the article.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    For most of us that use our own telescopes, light pollution is a much larger problem (and will be an even larger problem in the future than it is now) than air pollution.

    Join the IDA: http://www.darksky.org/
    These people make my life entirely too difficult, some days.

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Will we be able to afford more flying, or traveling? Assuming they are right, however, is their a revised map for good seeing locatons, away from clouds and contrails?

    I will be a little surprised if this prediction becomes true. Besides, judging from their picture, maybe they should consider all the visible obstruction caused by their secondary mirror structure instead of contrails.
    No petrol will be runnuing out by then or mabe we will have cleaner eng.

  16. #16
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    In regards to light pollution getting worse, I have noticed more of an effort lately to use lights that have sky cut-off shades. (There's a better name than that, but I forget what it is).

    Near my house is a shopping center which is a major source of light pollution. It's amazing how dark my sky becomes after 11pm when most of their lights are shut off. This shopping center has been around for decades, but about 10 years ago, it expanded. The new parking lot has full cutoff lighting where the old parking lot has globe-style lights that send as much light up as they do down.

    As dark-sky groups continue to spread the message, perhaps light pollution can be reversed. It makes economic sense too, even if you could care less about light pollution. You're paying for kilowatt hours for all that light you're sending skyward, which for a globe-style fixture is about half the light. Reflecting it back down allows you to get the same amount of light from a lower wattage bulb.

    The skies over the Bay Area are actually cleaner now than they were in the 70s because of smog regulation. And if in 50 years from now we have found a way to wean ourselves away from petro, the air will become even cleaner. This gives the light less to reflect off of, further reducing light pollution. I've noticed that on crystal-clear days, with a deep blue sky, the night sky contains lots of stars. We're still burning the same amount lights, but it has little to reflect off of.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    In regards to light pollution getting worse, I have noticed more of an effort lately to use lights that have sky cut-off shades. (There's a better name than that, but I forget what it is).

    Near my house is a shopping center which is a major source of light pollution. It's amazing how dark my sky becomes after 11pm when most of their lights are shut off. This shopping center has been around for decades, but about 10 years ago, it expanded. The new parking lot has full cutoff lighting where the old parking lot has globe-style lights that send as much light up as they do down.

    As dark-sky groups continue to spread the message, perhaps light pollution can be reversed. It makes economic sense too, even if you could care less about light pollution. You're paying for kilowatt hours for all that light you're sending skyward, which for a globe-style fixture is about half the light. Reflecting it back down allows you to get the same amount of light from a lower wattage bulb.

    The skies over the Bay Area are actually cleaner now than they were in the 70s because of smog regulation. And if in 50 years from now we have found a way to wean ourselves away from petro, the air will become even cleaner. This gives the light less to reflect off of, further reducing light pollution. I've noticed that on crystal-clear days, with a deep blue sky, the night sky contains lots of stars. We're still burning the same amount lights, but it has little to reflect off of.

    One of the buildings here... has a giant white pyramid-like structure at the top that used to be lit up every night. Now on clear nights, they don't light it up at night, it makes a huge difference in what starts you can see downtown... sure still tons of other light pollution, but it was one of the biggest things causing you to be able to see stars downtown. I don't know if someone finally protested it, or if the owners of the building have decide to cut energy costs and/or take up star viewing, but it is nice.

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