Government shutdown closes 3 of 4 National Radio Astronomy Observatories
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
04-10-2013 18:38 CDT
Today, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) was forced to shut down three of its four large facilities: the Green Bank Telescope, Very Large Array, and Very Long Baseline Arrays. The fourth, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, has more available funds and is also jointly operated with the European Southern Observatory, so will not likely shut down.
Here are several stories about the closures. I can't bear to write about this.
From Science Insider: Shutdown Static Blinds U.S. Radio Telescopes
Also from Science Insider: Astronomer: Shutdown Could Waste a Year’s Worth of Work
From Discovery Space: Cosmic Tragedy: Shutdown Kills Radio Observatories
And NRAO's Tania Burchell's Twitter feed is heartbreaking today.
Physically flipping switches to shut off our multimedia RAIDs, speakers…@TheNRAO Media dept is eerily quiet.— Tania (@RadioAstroGal) October 4, 2013
Doors are shutting. Parking lot is emptying. I think a goldfish may have been abandoned. I'm gonna go check. #nraoshutdown— Tania (@RadioAstroGal) October 4, 2013
Tania did save the fish.
Finally, as if this weren't enough, Jeff Foust reports that the Arecibo observatory only has a couple of weeks of funding until it, too, will need to furlough all of its employees. EDIT October 7: I have now heard that this is not true. Arecibo will continue to function, because in Puerto Rico they're accustomed to not being paid.
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