Gmini North at sunset

Gemini North is located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A twin facility scans the southern skies atop Cerro Pachón, Chile.

© Neelon Crawford (Polar Fine Arts); courtesy Gemini Obs. & NSF

British professional astronomers are no doubt relieved to learn that the United Kingdom's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has forestalled ending ties with Gemini Observatory, a pair of identical 8-meter optical/infrared telescopes in Chile and Hawaii.

Last November the council recommended severing its funding for the facility to help resolve budgetary problems. In an about-face, it announced Monday that the group will remain in the Gemini consortium with full funding for this year, but it seeks to negotiate a reduced share for the future. As a result, observing time for British astronomers has been restored through July.


Image of Lorna McWilliam

Lorna McWilliam

February 19, 2008 at 8:32 am


It just goes to show that making a lot of noise can make governmental organisations change their minds. But please keep an eye on what they're going to do next year or the UK's astronomers will only get to mop the floors at Gemini.

Kudos for reporting on an issue affecting astronomers outwith the USA. It shows that we should all fight together, because we all love the same things.

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