Turning off the lights on watching the cosmos

radio antennaby ElderBerryKing

Cosmic Tragedy: Shutdown Kills Radio Observatories
[Via Discovery News – Top Stories]

As the U.S. government shutdown grinds through its fourth day, science projects are falling like flies as they get starved of funds. And now, one of the most symbolic of scientific institutions has become the latest casualty of the political ineptitude on Capitol Hill.

Today, as of 7pm Eastern Time, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (site offline) will shut down all of its North American facilities. This includes the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) in New Mexico, plus the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Apart from a skeleton crew that will remain behind as security for the radio antennae, the vast majority of the NRAO’s 475 employees will be laid off in an unpaid furlough.


Turning off the radio observatories hurts science. These are not easy systems to start back up again. And, if the shutdown asts much longer, they may not have any reserves to pay the electricity needed to even keep these systems functional during the shutdown.

We are destroying a large number of basic research projects, a huge number of scientists are being lost, disease outbreaks are going unnoticed and children are not getting cancer treatments.

But ideology is more important to some. 

2 thoughts on “Turning off the lights on watching the cosmos

  1. It is a shame that the liberals are most interested in helping people rather than cold scientists.

    1. I did not mention any political party nor ideology. But since you brought it up, I will say this – conservatives are increasingly anti-science, conservatives increasingly distrust science, some conservatives push their dogma into science teaching, some conservatives call science ‘fraud’, conservatives have thinktanks that deny the work of 1000s of scientists,conservatives have non-profits that promote anti-science, conservatives have talk radio hosts who deny science, conservatives have media designed particularly to discredit science, and conservatives spend billions electing people who are anti-science.

      These are mainstream conservatives espousing mainstream conservative ideology. There is nothing comparable on the liberal side.

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