back to article UK withdraws from Gemini telescope programme

The UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has decided to plug a gap in its finances by withdrawing from the Gemini telescope programme, the BBC reports. The Gemini South observatory The shock move, which will leave British astronomers unable to view the Northern Hemisphere sky with Gemini's 8.1m telescopes in …


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  1. Anonymous John

    Northern Rock £25bn

    STFC -£60m


  2. Campbell


    "highest priority programmes "

    So what are they then and are they really worthy, or just a money spinners for sad little men with no more vision than Mr Magoo?

  3. Paul Kinsler

    the reason for the 80m budget cock-up

    was covered on R4's Today program. Nevertheless, why no background info (or links) in this article?

    Bah. Why no icon representing the death of British science?

  4. Frank Bough

    Pardon my French

    ...but this is fucking outrageous. How much has been wasted on propping up Northern Rock? ID cards? Iraq war? Even worse when you learn that this whole disaster may have come about due to an error in basic arithmetic.

  5. heystoopid

    It's Time

    The time has come as they would say down under in Oz and the Kiwi twin islands of the permanent white cloud "Let's whip around the hat boys and say bugger to the short sighted idiots and morons with their heads stuck up the nether end of their personal universes or words to that effect !"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what a great descision - not doubt taken by someone who's only knowledge of Gemini is the horoscope column... Sadly it seems that this is following the slide of education in the UK from subjects such as physics, Astrophysics, and other sciences, on which some of the most important discoveries have been based, to subjects like surf science and similar.

    This decision will simply usher the current and upcoming astronomy talent away from the UK to other countries, who have their priorities in order.

    We might have been better off taking £70m into a field and putting a match to it (not to mention the £7m get out fee!!). The public money wasted on Northern Rock would have done a long way to covering this cost - funny how the "cash strapped" government managed to lay it's hands on £55bn to fix a sinking bank, especially when we can't even equip our troops in the middle east properly.... thats another story.

  7. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Yeah but we're getting the Olympics!

    I'm surprised the government hasn't pointed out that £70 million of public money spent on stars not only gets you Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton, but also that binary system - Ant AND Dec!

    What a crap country...

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @Anonymous John

    If only Northern Rock was only costing us £25 billion, it's probably twice that with another billion in tax-free profits going to Beardie.

  9. Steve Browne


    Regretfully, this is always the reality of [Old | New] Labour. Tax, spend, withdraw. So, we get to pay the taxes, we get to contribute to first class scientific projects and we withdraw before anyone actually gets to do anything.

    So sad, so very, very sad.

  10. Hollerith

    saving money for a more glorious future

    The budget cutters say the saving is good because it is "...preserving the highest priority programmes and providing headroom to pursue the next generation of scientific opportunities..."

    And as the last astronomer in the UK turns off the light and closes the door, with a suitcase in hand and bound for Canada or indeed any country where science is valued, where is the next generation of anybody or anything going to come from?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Throw away more than just stargazing

    What naffs me off most is that the 7 million quid penalty is more or less what we're supposed to be saving out of our Daresbury site (which is one of STFC's labs) - that 7 million is 350 people losing their jobs.

    What a joke....

  12. Curtis W. Rendon

    Not that the British guv'mint cares

    so much about what goes on in the sky, or on the moon, or stuff. Too much to do to make oneself PC and mediocre.

  13. Scott
    Thumb Up


    Strewth mate, too bloody right! That' s just what I said as I took a gander at the article

  14. Big_Boomer

    No science teachers

    They keep banging on about how nobody is coming forward to teach Maths & Physics in schools these days but then turn around and cut scientific funding left, right and centre.

    So what kind of impression does this give to kids just finishing school with their Maths / Physics / Chemistry / IT degrees? It tells them "Don't waste your time and brain on real science. Go work for a company that makes databases for accountants"

    Most of this generations Einsteins and Hawkings are all bored silly working in IT. They may be reasonable well paid but they are bored out of their minds.

    Canada is sounding more and more attractive.

  15. Ed Zuiderwijk


    The last paragraph about the "future projects" show how totally clueless the STFC is. Why do they think that anyone would want to cooperate with such an unreliable partner as the UK has shown itself to be? This stupidity has not only scuppered the Gemini participation, it has made any participation in whatever international science project impossible for a long time to come. The damage this has done to the UK science enterprise is totally out of proportion to the current shortfall in funding.

  16. David Goadby

    Don't forget BAE's hand out too

    BAE, despite saying it would "try" to come in on budget, has said the current overspend is £500m. It is holding it's hand out for more and it will get it too.

    I bet BAE would get 70M for telescopes if there was a military purpose for it.

    It seems that Astronomy doesn't have any votes in it...

  17. Onionman

    Galileo would be turning in his grave

    Where's the logic in bumping this when we're still pouring £2Bn (elsewhere on el Reg) into the fleet of white elephants named after someone who would know the value of this, namely Galileo.

    Words fail me.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Problem is gray mass

    Oh common!

    STFC this, STFC that..

    Names! Start by mentioning actual names of people responsible!

    There are board members, who voted for this, who should be named (and at least questioned, if not shamed).

    While there is homogenous mass blamed, nothing will change.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The Best Way!

    The best way to destroy a country without war is to dismantle its education system. This p[roject is part of our long established research astronomy effort and its loss apart from being stupid given the money we have spent already, insane because it is now coming of age is bloody embarrassing.

    I would quite happily sack off the Olympics, the World Cup Bid and of course any number of goverment projects like ID cards to save this.

    For the record i am not involved in any way with this project, in fact i am not a scientist just a regular wage slave who likes cool stuff like discovering things in space.

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