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UK astronomers keep telescope access


The UK government has reached an agreement with the Gemini Observatory that will allow British astronomers to retain access to both of its 8-metre telescopes.

In November, the government shocked astronomers by announcing its intent to withdraw from the project. Subsequent negotiations to retain access to just one telescope, located atop Maneau Kea in Hawaii, failed. By early this year, British astronomers feared that their access to Gemini might be lost forever.

Those fears were premature, as neither side really wanted to break up the partnership. According to an agreement announced last night, the UK government will stay in the collaboration. But they’ll sell some of their £3.5 million worth of annual observing time in order to save money.

That means that the UK’s astronomers will have less time to peer through Gemini, but they won’t have to give it up all together.

credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA


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