News & Views item - June 2011


Additional Australian Government Funding of $3 Million to Maintain Australiaís Involvement in the Gemini Telescope Partnership. (June 3, 2011)

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has announced that the additional funding of $3 million is being provided to Astronomy Australia Ltd through the Australian Research Councilís Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme.


The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on mountains in Hawaii and Chile. Gemini Observatoryís telescopes can collectively access the entire sky.

Gemini was built and is operated by a partnership of seven countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.



Any astronomer in these countries can apply for time on Gemini, which is allocated in proportion to each partner's financial stake. For more information on the Gemini telescopes and technologies click here.


The relative financial stakes and therefore the allocation of time to each of the seven partners, noting that  CONICYT is exempted from all subsequent increases in the cost of Construction and Commissioning over and above its initial contribution of US$9,200,000 according to the initial agreement is as follows:


United States - NSF 50.119%
Great Britain - PPARC 23.81%
Canada - NRC 15.00%
Australia - ARC 6.19%
Brazil - MCT 2.5%

Argentina - CONICET 2.381%

Chile - CONICYT 0.0%


Here we note somewhat ruefully that Senator Carr has spent or allocated a sum of over $35 million for his cataloguing of Excellence in Research for Australia.