Why astronomers are worried about 2 major telescopes right now


There’s a bit of tension right now in the U.S. astronomy community and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has to do with telescopes — extremely large telescopes, in fact. Here’s what’s going on.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), a source of public funding that two powerful next-gen observatories have been banking on for financial support, is facing pressure to go forward with only one telescope. This is because last month, the National Science Board — which is basically an advisory committee for the NSF — recommended that it cap its giant telescope budget at $1.6 billion. This is a lot of money, but it’s just not enough for both. The board even says the NSF will have until only May of this year to decide which telescope gets the go-ahead.



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