Kebakaran di Gunung: Menghadapi yang Tak Terelakkan

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Akhir pekan ini, astronomi Australia menghadapi kemunduran yang mengerikan, ketika kebakaran besar melanda daerah perumahan Siding Spring Observatory.

Untungnya, tidak ada nyawa yang hilang, dan sementara beberapa bangunan pendukung hancur (termasuk gudang kebakaran, cukup ironisnya), kerusakan pada teleskop awalnya tampak jauh lebih sedikit daripada yang seharusnya, berkat upaya para kru kebakaran. (FYI, Amanda Bauer sedang melakukan pekerjaan luar biasa dengan live-blogging berita dan gambar saat tersedia. Klik di sini dan di sini, untuk hari kebakaran, dan sehari setelah keadaan observatorium menjadi jelas.).

Namun, seburuk ini, ini bukan pertama kalinya, juga bukan yang terburuk. Hampir tepat 10 tahun sebelumnya, Mt. Observatorium Stromlo (diperlihatkan di bawah) dihancurkan oleh kebakaran hutan, seperti yang dibahas dalam artikel yang sangat bagus ini, di mana Peraih Nobel Brian Schmidt membahas bagaimana setidaknya satu dari teleskop yang terancam di Siding Springs dibangun sebagai pengganti yang hilang di Mt. Stromlo.

Jika Anda memikirkannya, jelas bahwa bahaya bagi observatorium astronomi akan berlanjut tanpa batas waktu. Kami biasanya menempatkan observatorium optik di puncak gunung, di tempat-tempat terpencil. Meskipun ada beberapa yang berada cukup tinggi untuk berada di atas garis pohon (seperti Mauna Kea), sebagian besar fasilitas yang lebih kecil berada di pegunungan yang lebih rendah, dan biasanya dikelilingi oleh vegetasi. Kombinasi kekeringan dan kebakaran tidak bisa dihindari, dan cepat atau lambat, observatorium lain akan terbakar.

Pos Fires on the Mountain: Facing the Inevitable muncul pertama kali di Cosmic Variance.

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6 comments

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