The University of Hawaii Astronomy program has picked up a new telescope.
The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope or UKIRT is used to map infrared light from space. For years the telescope has been one of Mauna Kea’s busiest. Research done with the telescope has produced an average of more than 200 scientific publications each year. But funding cutbacks forced the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), the parent organization in the UK to give up the instrument, and UH took over the lease last Friday. The daily upkeep will be funded by a joint partnership with the University of Arizona and Lockheed-Martin. Bob McLaren is the Associate Director of the UH Institute for Astronomy.
McLauren compares the changeover to a hotel changing hands. The staff and guests continue to come and go, while ownership changes behind the scenes.