Thursday, 30 October 2014

End of an era

Tonight is the last night UKIRT operates as a UK telescope. We are closed Friday night during which the changeover to a new operator, the University of Arizona, takes place.

I have worked at UKIRT for 18 years and have observed there since 1991. My feelings are mixed. I am very excited about the future as UKIRT moves ahead and reinvents itself once again. We are moving into areas UKIRT was never designed for but we demonstrated this summer it was quite capable of carrying out its new science mission. I am also sad because I know so many people I have worked with in the past in the UK will likely never visit again. Fortunately, there is interest from the UK astronomical community in staying connected to the telescope. You never know, many old friends may well come out to visit us again, as they did this past week to celebrate UKIRT's achievements, history and its future.

Thank you to everyone who made UKIRT what it is today, and to those who made its future possible.