5 Reasons Why Astronomy Is Better From The Ground Than In Space
When you think about what’s out there in the abyss of deep space, whether you’re looking out at the planets in our Solar System or the most distant galaxies perceptible in the Universe, the instrument most people think about using for the best images and data is the Hubble Space Telescope. Perched hundreds of miles above the Earth’s atmosphere, issues like clouds, atmospheric distortion, turbulent air, or even pollution are no concern. Images are as sharp as the cameras and optics on board allow, and from its position off-world, it can look in any direction we want it to. Using it, we’ve seen wonders the likes of which we’ve never imagined; Hubble has shown us what the Universe truly looks like.
And yet, there are things we can do from the ground that are indisputably superior to anything we can do from space. There are images we can create and data we can collect that are simply impossible to do from space. Whether we’re using ground-based telescopes, balloon-borne observatories or even a high-altitude aircraft, there are many good reasons to remain here on Earth. Sure, flying above the atmosphere and receiving the omnidirectional perspective that going to space gives you are definite victories for the space telescope aficionados; there’s no way adaptive optics or a pristine observing site can compete with an observatory that doesn’t have the Earth to contend with. But there are some very compelling reasons to do astronomy on the ground, as there are benefits that you lose the instant you go to space. Here are the top five: