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Snow on Your Telescope? Here's How Astronomers Cope with Lousy Weather

NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

If you are trying to peer up, past the earth’s atmosphere, all this bad weather of late poses a considerable challenge.  How do you study a distant galaxy when there’s snow falling on your telescope?

Dr. Michael West of the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket joins All Things Considered's Steve Junker to discuss the challenges to astronomers from the weather. Their conversation is posted above.

While many observatories are placed on high mountains to be above the clouds, perhaps your best bet for avoiding the weather is to use a space telescope. Dr. West and a colleague recently have been using the Hubble space telescope, which turns 25 this year, to make observations of distant galaxies moving into larger galaxy clusters. 

Getting time on the Hubble telescope isn't easy - only about one in ten research proposals are accepted. But anyone can access the amazing images produced by Hubble. has galleries of pictures to browse, use as screensavers, and print. 

The Hubble Heritage Project features art inspired by Hubble images.

Though not mentioned in the conversation above, there are other telescopes in space that also have great images. These include the Spitzer Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

Steve is Managing Editor of News. He came to WCAI in 2007. He also hosts the weekly News Roundup on Friday mornings and produces The Fishing News.