Telescope Tensions

April 20, 2009

I may be whingeing about the weather, but I sure ain’t whingeing about UKIRT. Its a world beating facility, and runs more smoothly than other telescope I know. This wasn’t the case when I first started using UKIRT … shows you what you can do with thirty years to nail this stuff down. Well… dedicated and talented staff kinda help too 🙂

In last year’s crisis, UKIRT was under threat. Luckily, the community response was very impressive. As a result, UKIRT is guaranteed at the very least to finish UKIDSS. Now the feeling of crisis looms again. As Peter C has described, STFC’s problems have deepened because of exchange rate problems, and we are all waiting for the budget with our breath held.

Meanwhile, rumours abound of a review of ground-based facilities by STFC. (OK I know thats only one rumour, but Tom Shanks can abound all by himself I reckon.) This should be able to dovetail nicely with the US decadal survey, as discussed in an earlier post. It needs to report well before November, as thats when the crucial Gemini Board meeting is … However, so far there seems to be no sign of terms of reference appearing on the STFC web site. By the way, isn’t it a very pretty and professional looking web site ?

The GB review may be an opportunity to review priorities for future things, but of course everybody is assuming its a game of musical chairs. Oh look ! There’s a news item about Merlin being a great success ! Oh and a lovely new brown dwarf result from UKIDSS, folllowed up by observations on Gemini !!

Oh dear. Is this going to get a tad tense over the coming months ?