UK access to Gemini terminated

Despite Professor Keith Mason (Chief Executive of the STFC) requesting the UK astronomical community to look forward to a "brighter future" STFC's cunning plan to reduce its funding to the Gemini telescopes has been firmly rejected by the Gemini board. Personally I don't blame the Gemini Board; STFC's behaviour has been desparate and the plan to fund only the Gemini North telescope goes against the original agreements to operate both Gemini North and Gemini South as one observatory. With the hastily put together proposal rejected, the UK will have to pay a £7 million (or perhaps £8 million) penalty fee to leave the collaboration. That cessation of access is pretty much immediate (February 1st 2008) with all the UK's future observations scheduled after that date cancelled. The time will be shared out amongst the other nations involved. The UK will no longer have access to the largest professional telescopes in the northern hemisphere. My sympathies go to anyone who was relying on Gemini data for their PhD. Apparently you should consider retraining in medicine or as a stockbroker.

Perhaps the one-time astronaut candidate Keith Mason can explain what the bright side of this is.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 26th Jan 2008 (18:55 GMT) | Permalink
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