Wednesday, 30 May 2012


From an STFC press release:

"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."

The reason for ending support for UKIRT a year earlier than JCMT is unclear since there are no savings to be made here, UKIRT essentially comes for free as long as the JCMT is supported. The opportunity to take a year's worth of free data using one of the most scientifically productive telescopes on the planet is being thrown away. As are our jobs.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

UKIRT: on the way to another new record

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. This will continue I'm afraid because I'm just too busy. Every so often, however, there's a bit of news that really needs to be shared and it's UKIRT's productivity this time. I still can't believe these numbers are correct but so far everything checks out. We've become a stunningly productive observatory in the last few years and as long as the JCMT is funded with its revolutionary new instrument, SCUBA-2, this stuff comes for free.

UKIRT's productivity continues to rise