UK astronomy under threat

Well this story is nearly a week old and I’ve been busy working so I haven’t had chance to blog about it; but I think it’s too important not to mention something about it here. It’s the news of a very worrying announcement made by the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

In order to save money the STFC plans to withdraw the UK from the Gemini Observatory leaving UK astronomers without access to one of (if not the) best optical observatories in the Northern Hemisphere.
The UK has already contributed £23 million to the Gemini project, with a 23% share in the project since 1992. This surprising development becomes even more concerning when we consider this quote from the RAS news release:”The decision to withdraw from the project appears to have been made without any consultation with the astronomical community.”

Chris Lintott has an interesting post about the developments on his blog as does Stuart at Astronomy Blog. According to ‘The e-Astronomer’ (Prof. Andy Lawrence) this is just the beginning of worse things to come after budget cuts by the UK government. Let’s hope the STFC reconsiders this decision and as Stuart and Andy say, in the meantime, you can write to your local MP!

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