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Russian Astronomers Complain Climate Change Is Clouding Night Skies


Climate change is causing problems for Russia's astronomers, one of Russia's top scientists has warned.

Yuri Balega, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Special Astrophysical Observatory, said that increasingly volatile weather was making it more difficult for scientists at Russia's BTA-6 telescope to study the night skies.

"Over the past 30 to 40 years, weather conditions close to the BTA-6 telescope have worsened considerably,” he said during a conference on Wednesday. “It seems like climate change could see off astronomers.”

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Scientists are now struggling to work for more than two nights in a row due to increasingly frequent weather changes which clouded the sky, Balega said.

Seventy years ago, astronomers were often able to study unclouded skies for up to 15 days in a row, he said by comparison.

Russia's BTA-6 telescope was unveiled in 1975, taking the title of the world's largest telescope until 1993.

Located in southern Russia's Caucasus Mountains, it uses a mirror some six meters in diameter inside a 53-meter high dome.

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