Community:Arecibo

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CEDAR and the Arecibo Observatory

October 12, 2007

Dear CEDAR community,

As many of you know, the Arecibo observatory has come under serious budgetary scrutiny. This has gone forward with little consultation from our community in their deliberations. The Upper Atmosphere Research Section provides over $2 million annually in support of Arecibo, as such, we are 1/5 stakeholders in the facility and yet we have not been consulted on how the astronomy decision will impact our research. At the same time, friends and colleagues at the Arecibo Observatory must deal with the dark cloud of uncertainty weighing heavily on them every day. We must bolster the Arecibo staff and the many researchers involved in Arecibo by showing community wide support for the continued operation of the observatory.

Below is an email to Dr. Van Citters, the NSF Astronomy director, and a few other NSF officials voicing our concern. Attached is also a letter from the CEDAR Science Steering Committee (CSSC).

I realize some of you may be closer to the issue and I would be happy to discuss approaches to strengthen our community's position on this very important issue.

Best Regards,

Jeff Thayer (jeffrey.thayer@colorado.edu) CSSC chair


From: Jeffrey P. Thayer [1]

Sent: Monday, October 08, 2007 11:45 AM

To: G. Wayne Van Citters (gvancitt@nsf.gov) Cc: Arden L. Bement Jr. (abement@nsf.gov); Richard Barvainis (rbarvai@nsf.gov); Kathie L. Olsen (kolsen@nsf.gov); Jarvis Moyers (jmoyers@nsf.gov); Tony Chan (tfchan@nsf.gov); Richard A. Behnke; rmrobins@nsf.gov

Subject: Arecibo Support

Dear Dr. Van Citters,

The members of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) science steering committee express our deep concern with the budgetary situation of the Arecibo Observatory. We strongly support the continued operation of the Observatory. Attached* is a letter from the CEDAR science steering committee expressing our position.

The CEDAR Science Steering Committee requests that the importance of Arecibo to the atmospheric and space science community worldwide be given substantial weight as recommendations are being made on the future operations of the observatory. We also ask that members from our community be included in the deliberation process.

The special environment of the Arecibo Observatory is in jeopardy. The uncertain state of the facility has graduate students questioning whether they should pursue an advanced degree at Arecibo in fear that their work may be terminated before they finish. Researchers are unclear as to whether their research proposals will be well received given the current state of the facility. The financial investment made over the years into the infrastructure of the Arecibo Observatory has enabled research to advance steadily in many areas. The current setback in financial support runs the risk of diminishing those past efforts and hindering future scientific advancements with such a unique observatory. The message being sent to the research community is one of indifference and it is imperative that this message change to one that is supportive financially and scientifically.


Sincerely,

Jeff Thayer, CEDAR SSC Chair

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