The coronavirus pandemic is hurting people like there’s no tomorrow. Healthcare systems all over the world are being affected, and so are the worldwide economies.
People are under lockdown in most parts of the world, and there are more and more industries that are affected by this huge disaster.
Digital Trends just revealed that facilities that are hosting telescopes I the Chilean desert, which include the world’s largest ground-based astronomical project, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have been shut down due to the COVID-19.
It’s been reported that the facilities located in the Atacama Desert include the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory, where ALMA is located, and also the Paranal Observatory, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the La Silla Observatory and the Cerro Armazones Observatory.
This area is amazing for astronomical observation due to the very high altitude at which it’s located. The location has almost zero cloud cover, and there are also really low precipitations as well.
In other words, this spot offers almost unobstructed views of the night sky all over the year.
Important projects are affected by the coronavirus pandemic
It’s important to note the fact that in locations that have too much water in the atmosphere, this can interfere with the collection of weak signals coming from deep space. This is one of the main reasons for which a lot of telescopes are located in deserts or on high mountains because these locations are very dry.
“All the visiting projects of scientists who come to conduct observations, typically from abroad, during April and May were canceled,” Steffen Mieske, head of science operations at the European-run Paranal Observatory, told Reuters.
Mieske continued and explained that “We anticipate that a significant number of projects will be affected.”