UK May Shut Down Jodrell Bank Observatory
March 6, 2008 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Jodrell Bank observatory may shut down according to a UK funding proposal (via Bad Astronomy). The observatory is comprised of several radio telescopes including Lovell, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. The proposed budget cuts would save the UK £2.5 million per year. Perhaps Lovell can be converted (again) to an outdoor movie screen.
posted by McLir (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That would be a real shame to lose, I remember our primary school having yearly visits there back in the day.
posted by emperor.seamus at 2:21 PM on March 6, 2008

At least it'll keep the Autons out.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on March 6, 2008

Ah shit, they got in anyway.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on March 6, 2008

I've never actually been there, but I've seen that episode of Dr Who where Tom Baker regenerates into Peter Davidson several times.

Plus there's that mention of them failing to spot the Vogons, "...which was a shame because that's what they've been searching for all these years..."
posted by bruzie at 2:58 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

That would be a real shame, Jodrell Bank was always the best of the school trips we went on - playing with all the hands-on exhibits; speaking into the dishes to friends at the other end of the field; running round the grounds finding all of the planets. I guess this new-fangled internet will try to come up with some way of replacing it.
posted by gregjones at 3:52 PM on March 6, 2008

I can't believe they're talking about shutting it down for a mere 2.5M pounds. Do they do pledge drives in England? Telethons? That's not a heck of a lot of money.
posted by McLir at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2008

STFC is short of money. See their recent programmatic review. The Jodrell stuff comes under the Merlin stuff. You'll see it's not the only area under threat.

If you're a UK citizen and don't like it, write to your MP. I'm not sure how else you can reasonably expect the money to show up in STFC's coffers to pay for the research.

I'd also hope this has a minimal impact on the SKA. It's in at medium-high priority in that list, and the SKA has the potential to be absolutely awesome. But frankly, us astrophysicists in the UK are having a hard time being optimistic right now.
posted by edd at 4:14 PM on March 6, 2008

Ska Telescope? Does it have a shaved lens and funny suspenders?
posted by basicchannel at 5:00 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

playing with all the hands-on exhibits

You need to be all hands on when you're having a Jodrell.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:39 PM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

But frankly, us astrophysicists in the UK are having a hard time being optimistic right now.

It looks like it's been a hard year for you folks with the business at Gemini, too. Why the funding fluctuations, do you know? Something come in over budget and suck away the cash, or was funding slashed at a Parliamentary level?
posted by Upton O'Good at 8:59 PM on March 6, 2008

It's not entirely clear, but this site has a lot of detail.
posted by edd at 11:53 PM on March 6, 2008

It's rather easy to cut away programs that are not every popular , less people complain. In these days in which The Leader talks with god (or thinks he is the latin american Savior) and the public discourse is orientated toward Britney buttcrack , science isn't as popular as it could be.

Yet if we cutted some money from soccer all the wannabe Poshes & Beckhams would snap back into demanding some other than canned dream, god forbid they asked for something more tangible.

We need one, one hundrend, one tera Carl Sagan here and now on the Pale Blue Dot
posted by elpapacito at 5:31 AM on March 7, 2008

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