Calar Alto observatory fights for survival: 20% of staff laid off

Calar Alto observatory, in the mountains above Almeria, is Europe’s largest observatory. But that hasn’t saved it from funding cuts which lead to its Director quitting recently in protest. It’s administered jointly by Spain’s CSIC and the Max Planck Institute of Germany. CSIC has almost abandoned the observatory, and Max Planck has also severely cut back. This has lead to a wave of job losses, as the remaining staff are forced to take pay cuts Continue reading Calar Alto observatory fights for survival: 20% of staff laid off

First “bring your own telescope” astronomy night in Almeria

“Friends of the Calar Alto Observatory” are organising a bring your own telescope night in Almeria city. The plan is for amateur astronomers to congregate next to the Cable Ingles and learn how to align their telescopes to observe Jupiter and the Moon. You don’t have to “bring your own telescope” if you don’t have one, you can just turn up. The night is being organised along with the observatory and the townhall of Almeria, Continue reading First “bring your own telescope” astronomy night in Almeria

Biggest non news story of the week

How can it be that fools like this chap get grants to produce such utter twaddle, and worse, get media coverage for it? Intelligent civilisations are out there and there could be thousands of them, according to an Edinburgh scientist. The current research estimates that there are at least 361 intelligent civilisations in our Galaxy and possibly as many as 38,000. “It’s a process of quantifying our ignorance,” said Duncan Forgan, the University of Edinburgh Continue reading Biggest non news story of the week