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Liller Discusses Nuclear Hazards


An irresponsible nuclear blast in the atmosphere may ruin astronomy for "at least the length of our life-times" and possibly for 1000 years, William Liller, professor of Astronomy, said yesterday after a lecture at the Harvard Observatory.

American explosions in other space have already severely affected radio astronomy, Liller stated. An artificial radiation band has merged with the natural Van Allen radiation belt, and forms a level of very intense radiation, some 2000 miles high. This radiation, said Liller, continually interferes with returning impulses, and makes it very difficult for astronomers to correlate dependable data.

Optical astronomy may soon be similarly affected, he continued. The creation of a permanent aurora borealis is imminent if the tests are continued, and such a band of continued light would render optical observation impossible.

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