Sunday, September 22, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, June 02, 2012
European Budget Cuts Threaten Mauna Kea Telescopes
By News Release @ 8:54 PM :: 7107 Views :: Hawaii County , Akaka Bill, Energy, Environment, World News, Family

STFC island site telescopes: response from the Royal Astronomical Society

News Release from Royal Astronomical Society (UK) Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) today expressed deep regret at the decision of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to end support for two major astronomical telescopes. The decision, a consequence of ongoing real terms cuts to the UK science budget by the Government, will almost certainly see the Hawaii-based UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) cease operations in the autumn of 2013 and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) do the same a year later, with the loss of around 40 jobs.

The Society however welcomed the decision to seek to continue UK involvement in the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), sited on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, which observes the sky in visible light. Without the WHT, UK astronomers would have been in the odd position of being unable to observe the northern hemisphere of the sky – in other words many of the stars and galaxies above our heads – at optical wavelengths. This access is also critical for instrument development and for observations that complement new radio observatories like the pan-European LOFAR array.

Professor David Southwood, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, commented: “The closure of these innovative facilities, telescopes that continue to deliver ground-breaking research, is a sad day for British astronomy. It will further reduce the capacity of UK astronomers to carry out world-leading science.

‘After consultation with the astronomical community, I am pleased that STFC has found a solution that will allow UK scientists to continue to use the Isaac Newton Group, an issue of concern for the RAS since 2007.

‘At the moment UK astronomers and space scientists are amongst the most productive in the world and are second only to the United States in the number of citations of our scientific papers. This and the quality of our facilities have made the UK an attractive destination for researchers from across the globe. Astronomy remains a core inspiration for bringing students into science and engineering, recognised as being of key importance for long term economic growth.

‘As we move to step up involvement in projects like the Square Kilometre Array and the European Extremely Large Telescope, the UK needs to remain a credible international partner with a decent research infrastructure. Reduction in access to astronomical observatories and in research funding more generally puts this at risk.”


LINK: STFC statement on island sites

STFC chief executive Professor John Womersley announced today the United Kingdom was confident of continuing astronomical research using telescopes on the Canary Islands, and that operations on two Hawaiian telescopes would be extended to complete planned science.

However, the Hawaiian telescopes would be either transferred to alternate operators or decommissioned once the existing science missions were completed.

Professor Womersley said STFC Council had on Tuesday considered the future of the two sites:

  • The United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope (UKIRT) and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), both on Mauna Kea on the main island of Hawaii, and the associated Joint Astronomy Centre (JAC) based in Hilo, Hawaii;
  • The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma in the Canary Islands, primarily the William Herschel Telescope (WHT)

Acting on advice and recommendations from its Science Board, Council has now agreed to:

  • extend operation of JCMT to end September 2014, to allow for completion of the agreed science programme for the SCUBA-2 instrument on the JCMT;
  • cease STFC support for the operation of UKIRT from end September 2013, a year after the completion of its current survey programme;
  • extend operations of ING initially until March 2015, which will provide additional time for negotiations with existing partners with the goal of retaining continued access to the northern sky for UK astronomers.

"We are pleased to be able to extend the operation of the Hawaii telescopes for at least another year to enable further excellent research to be conducted", Professor Womersley said. "STFC shares the UK astronomy community's desire to maintain access to telescopes in the northern hemisphere as well as to the world-leading European facilities in Chile, and we are confident that our discussions with Spain and the Netherlands in relation to the ING will be positive."

"However, we must now also commence negotiations with the University of Hawaii as the leaseholder of the Mauna Kea sites, and with other potential operators of each of the Hawaii telescopes. If a suitable alternate operator is not identified for either Hawaiian telescope, STFC will decommission that telescope and restore the site as required by the lease."

  *   *   *   *   *

Times of Higher Education: It’s not all black, but it is blue for astronomers

UKIRT

With a 3.8 metre diameter mirror, the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT: http://www.jach.hawaii.edu/UKIRT/) is the second largest dedicated infrared telescope in the world. Sited at an altitude of 4200 m on the top of the volcano Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii, it began operations in 1979. UKIRT is carrying out the UKIRT Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS: http://www.ukidss.org/) searching for objects from nearby brown dwarfs to distant quasars. In 2012 the UKIDSS team received the RAS Group Award.

JCMT

The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT: http://www.jach.hawaii.edu/JCMT/) observes submillimetre radiation, emitted in the region of the spectrum between far-infrared and microwaves. JCMT is also on Mauna Kea and is the largest telescope of its kind in the world. The telescope saw ‘first light’ in 1987 and is run by the UK, Canada and the Netherlands. The Submillimetre Common User Bolometric Array 2 (SCUBA-2) is mounted on JCMT and is surveying the Galaxy and wider universe for undiscovered populations of stars and galaxies.

The Royal Astronomical Society

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS, www.ras.org.uk), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3500 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

Related:

·       Thirty Meter Telescope Selects Mauna Kea -- Let the looting begin!

·       Telescope: The Shakedown begins

 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT