A T N F    D a i l y    A s t r o n o m y    P i c t u r e

14th of September 2020
Energy use in astronomy
The current issue of Nature Astronomy considers the impact of astronomy on climate change. In the lead paper, Stevens et al. conclude the average Australian astronomer generates at least 40% more carbon emissions than a typical Australian adult. Surprisingly, the majority of emissions arise from supercomputing centres used by astronomers, with the emissions from flying to conferences, collaborations and astronomical observatories, coming a distant second. At least 13% of emissions per astronomer are generated by the operation of Australian observatories, which rely on a combination of grid, local solar power and diesel for electricity. The remainder of the assessed emissions are due to home institution operations, including lighting, heating and cooling, and local computer usage.

Other papers in the issue include "The ecological impact of high-performance computing in astrophysics" by Zwart, "The carbon footprint of large astronomy meetings" by Burtscher et al. "The impact of climate change on astronomical observations" by Cantalloube et al. "An astronomical institute’s perspective on meeting the challenges of the climate crisis" by Jahnke et al. and "Measuring carbon emissions at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope" by Flagey et al.

CSIRO's Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) hosts both the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) The isolation of the MRO means it is not connected to mains power, but is powered by a combination of on-site solar photovoltaics and diesel. The image above shows a part of the solar power infrastructure.

<<   |   archive   |   about   |   today   *   ATNF   |   Parkes   |   ATCA   |   Mopra   |   VLBI   |   ASKAP   |   >>