February 18, 1998
The total cost of the project is $US193 million. Australia will
contribute a 5% share through the Australian Research Council. The
other partners are the U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Chile, Argentina, and
President of the Academy, Professor Sir Gustav Nossal said: "Astronomers
have shown the scientific community a fine example in their ability to
set priorities. The Australian Academy of Science is delighted to see
the Government addressing this long standing top priority for
Australian astronomy. The Academy is particularly pleased that this
initiative stems from its 1995 Discipline Review, Australian
Astronomy: Beyond 2000."
Between them, the Gemini twins will be able to see the whole sky, north
and south. The Hawaiian-based one will be completed this year, and the
one in Chile in 2000.
"This is exciting news," said Professor Jeremy Mould, Chair of the
Academy's National Committee for Astronomy. "We'll be in there, working
with Gemini, from day one."
All Australian astronomers will have access to the telescopes,
competing for access in the same way as they do on local facilities.
Collecting light with mirrors 8 metres in diameter, the Gemini
telescopes will exceed even the Hubble Space Telescope for studying the
most faint and distant galaxies. They will be able to look back to
within a billion years of the Big Bang to see galaxies forming.
"Combining our major facilities in Australia with access to these new
ones, we'll ensure that Australians keep making world-leading
discoveries in Astronomy", added Professor Mould.
The Gemini telescopes are optimised for working in the infrared part of
the spectrum. This will let them peer into the dusty regions of our
Galaxy to see planetary systems like our own Solar System forming.
Chile and Hawaii have the best seeing conditions in the world for
Website for the International Gemini Project:
For more information contact:
Sir Gustav Nossal: 03 9344 6946 (Dept. Pathology, Uni. of Melbourne)
Prof. Jeremy Mould: 02 6249 0266 (Director,
Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories)
Trish Nicholls: 02 6247 3966 (Australian Academy of Science Secretariat)
GPO Box 783, Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: 02 6247 5777 Fax: 02 6257 4620 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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