The largest telescopes in the Atacama Desert were closed due to the coronavirus. Researchers note that this could be a “big blow to science” since these devices provide scientists with most of the data about space.
Objects that are housed in a complex of telescopes in the Chilean Atacama desert have closed. The work was suspended and the world’s largest terrestrial astronomical project Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), this is due to the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide.
It is reported that the European Southern Observatory decided to gradually cease all observations conducted at the telescopes of the Paranal, La Silla and APEX observatories. They will minimize the number of personnel who serve them.
This desert is ideal for astronomical observations, as it is located at a very high altitude, where there are practically no clouds and precipitation. It is there that researchers can observe the night sky almost all year round without obstacles. When there is too much water in the atmosphere, this prevents the collection of weak signals from deep space, so many telescopes are built in deserts.
Scientists noted that the closure of telescopes can have a significant impact on the field of astronomy as a whole. These objects provide a large amount of data that scientists use in their research projects.