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Can a Telescope See Through Clouds?

Introduction

It is a great thought, isn't it? Seeing what is beyond the clouds. Too bad it is just a thought. Many ask if it is possible to observe through clouds with a telescope. The answer is a clear no. Although to a great surprise, many are still of the opinion that a telescope is able to reveal targets otherwise hidden by a cloud cover. In order to understand why, let us first go through the basics.

What are Clouds?

A cloud is created by drops of water or ice crystals drifting in the atmosphere. So how do they form? The sky is overall full of water drops, which are so small they are hidden from our sight. These drops have turned into a gas, which we call water vapor. As the water vapor moves higher in the sky, the temperature of the air also drops.

Can a Telescope See Through Clouds?

Source: Pexels

The cooler air results in the water droplets starting to stick to items like little pieces of dust, ice, or sea salt. According to NASA, this is how clouds are formed. The temperature, wind, and other circumstances where a cloud forms define what type of cloud it will become.

Telescopes and Clouds

Clouds are a continuous problem for amateur, as well as professional astronomers as in order for them to witness the wonders of the sky and space with their telescopes, they require the sky to be clear of clouds when observing. But we cannot control the weather, astronomers or not.

As we established before, telescopes cannot be used to observe through clouds. If you imagine it, normal telescopes work similarly to the eyes. If you can see it, a telescope can see it. Consequently, if you cannot see it, a telescope cannot see it either. What is more, telescopes are even more delicate when it comes to the sensitivity of particles or turbulence in the air.

Can a Telescope See Through Clouds?

Source: Pixabay

There is, however, a loophole. There are telescopes called radio telescopes, which are not as affected by clouds as others, as radio waves smoothly pass through them. But if you do not have this type of telescope do not worry, just make certain to check your local weather forecast and prepare for the next clear night.

Conclusion

There is, believe it or not, nothing we are able to do when mother nature is working against us. Nevertheless, we can still prepare for such occurrences beforehand. That is why for the best experience when observing the sky, choose a clear, dry night free of clouds. And happy stargazing!

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Can a Telescope See Through Clouds?
Article Name
Can a Telescope See Through Clouds?
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It is a great thought, isn't it? Seeing what is beyond the clouds. Many ask if it is possible to observe through clouds with a telescope.
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Optics Trade Blog
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