© Jim West/Alamy
For two weeks in October, the largest maneuverable radio telescope in the world stood still. With the federal government shut down and the employees who control the Green Bank telescope on furlough, the research of astronomers around the world came to an abrupt halt.
Astronomers Sheila Kannappan and David Stark of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had been allotted 80 hours of observing time on the gigantic West Virginia telescope to study how gases flow between galaxies and fuel star formation. Now it’s unclear when, if ever, they will get to complete those observations.
Astronomers are used to working around things like bad weather and tight schedules, Stark says. But being waylaid by politics felt especially irritating.
“You fight tooth and nail for this time,” he says. “It’s just adding insult to injury.”
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.