IOP comments on announcement on island sites
31 May 2012
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has today announced planned dates for the closure of their island site telescopes, the James Clark Maxwell and UK Infra-Red Telescopes in Hawaii, and the Isaac Newton Group (ING) of telescopes in the Canaries.
Professor Stuart Palmer, the Institute of Physics’ (IOP’s) interim Chief Executive, commented: “It is sad to see plans for the end of life of facilities which have given such good service to the astronomy community and made possible major advances in our understanding of the universe we live in. They still offer unique capabilities, and we hope that ways will be found to make them available for UK astronomers to use as long as they are of value.
“However, we recognise that STFC has to balance many different demands within a funding envelope which is inevitably tightly constrained, especially in the present financial climate. Exciting new opportunities are opening up for astronomy internationally, with the development of the Square Kilometre Array and the European Extra Large Telescope. We hope that UK astronomers will be able to play a full part in these new programmes.
“We also recognise that STFC has worked hard to consult the astronomy community in the lead-up to these decisions, and communicated proactively with those involved.”