Astronomy and "global warming"

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:55 PM GMT


Is "global warming" affecting the amateur astronomer? Do you have any images from the past to compare with the images of today?



I am really not sure what you mean by global warming "affecting the amateur astronomer". Do you mean in terms of cloud cover? Anyway, I will assume that is what you meant for the purposes of this answer.

What I can tell you is that a much more pernicious problem is *light pollution*. As there is increased development in many (once) rural areas of the country (not to mention world!) they have lost those once pristine skies - where in the summer, for example, you could spot the Milky Way as a band across the night sky. No more! (Unless you go into a desert area or very remote place, such as deep interior Alaska, where I was in 2005)

This is not to say clouds aren't a problem (sorry, I have no photos readily available), but light pollution simply trumps them.

In Barbados (and much of the Caribbean), another problem that has emerged since 1996 is the arrival of Sahara dust in the high atmosphere, carried along wind streams from West Africa. I recall some nights at the Harry Bayley Observatory where we couldn't see a single nebula because of the haze. We'd just have to call off any public viewing.


I have seen a number of experts, including Tom Whiting and S. Russo (who also replied to you) claiming there is "no global warming" or there is only "global cooling".

This is to assure you this is absolute balderdash. All the evidence is in, there is a genuine scientific consensus, and only 'flat earthers' or political hacks substituting politics for science deny it.

As to the claim of "global cooling", that has been disproved for over a year - since a Nature paper came out. More recently, NOAA scientists have rebutted this claim, and you can read more about it here:


"Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book.

Only one problem: It's not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press."

As for the Sun "having no spots since 2006", this is also nonsense. Whiting ought to know better. I attended a solar physics conference in June, and while yes, there have been "spotless days" recorded - they have not been continuous! The conclusion at that Boulder, CO meeting was also that HUMANS are the agents of warming, and that it is REAL.


Is "global warming" affecting the recreational astronomer? Do you have any images from the past to compare with images of today?


HI Matt

It's hard to say how climate change would affect the recreational astronomer. Maybe there would be more cloudy days, or fewer, but in general, the skies are about the same, independent of the temperature.

But that's not to say that man's influence on the planet hasn't affected us. Light pollution, combined with air pollution, have made the skies a great deal worse than they used to be. Messier discovered and cataloged his list of non-stellar objects from downtown Paris with a 3 inch telescope in the 1700's. Many of those objects are now only visible from very dark locations, or through much larger scopes.

Paul Wagner


Is "global warming" affecting the recreational astronomer? Do you have any images from the past to compare to images of today?


Well, the question is interesting. Interesting because Global Warming does not exist the way we have all heard. The rising and falling of Earth's temperatures are natural in their happening and nothing to be concerned about. Forget about all the media hype and Al Gore stuff. There is NO concensus amomg sciensts that gloal warming exists, and IF it does, there is no human activity involved.

Go to my we site:

and scroll down to the Global warming section. You will be surprised at the FACTS!



Is "global warming" affecting the recreational astronomer? Do you have any images from the past to compare with images of today?


Hi Matt, First, there is no global warming. In fact, if you check your numbers yourself, you'll find there is actually global cooling. We peaked out in 1998 and it's been downhill ever since.... volcanic activity, no sunspots since 2006 (or not many of them). You can expect another severe winter this year as over 200 days of 2009 have been spotless...see for an accurate report on sunspot count. So called global warming is just a farce to keep the money flowing from the governments into the liberal "pet" projects all around the world. Follow the's all money oriented.

No, any warming (or cooling) does not affect recreational astronomy. What does affect images are volcanic activity, of which we've had 2 this year, Mt Redoubt in Alaska and that one in Russia...I forget it's name. These inject particles and sulfur up in the stratosphere and thus limits our view with all that junk in the air...that's why the very red sunsets all year long.

The very clearest nights we had were the 10 days following 9/11 where there were no aircraft flying...there was no evening haze from the contrails, and we had near perfect skies for those 10 days. So it's all the commercial aircraft that gum up the sky, not your falsely perceived global warming. But there's not much we can do about all those aircraft; they are a necessity on our society. But I don't do pictures, I'm only eyeball to the eyepiece, so I have no images of the past or present. Clear Skies, Tom Whiting Erie, PA

PS..Lots of hurricanes, global warming. No US hurricanes, global warming. Drought in the Mississippi valley, global warming. Floods in Mississippi valley, global warming. Stratosphere is cooling, global warming. Statosphere is heating, global warming. Record snowfalls in Erie PA global warming. Little snow in Erie, global warming! I've even read reports that the dearth of sunspots is being caused guessed it, global warming! So it's heads you win, tails you win, if coin falls on edge you win, or if it disappears in win! Come on....I wasn't born yesterday. You can't have it all both ways. I might be ignorant and stupid, but I'm not dumb. As Abe Lincoln said, You can't fool all the people all the time. Tom


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