Image Source: https://astronomy.com/
After more than six months of COVID-related closures, observational astronomy is largely getting back to work.
Many of the world’s biggest telescopes have reopened their domes in recent weeks, returning their gazes to the heavens for the first time since the pandemic forced a global shutdown of observational astronomy in March. Other major telescopes expect to reopen soon.
This wave of reopenings was buoyed by declining COVID-19 cases in Chile, especially in the Atacama Desert, a region home to many world-class observatories. U.S. officials who manage telescopes in Hawaii and Arizona say they’re also beginning to resume operations, largely thanks to significant changes in their workflows.
If major observatories continue to come back online — and remain open — it will end an unprecedented dark era in astronomy. After all, even during World War II, America’s observatories kept a close eye on the skies.