October 9, 2013



Government shutdown, NOAO update

A message from the NOAO Director

Dear colleagues:

As of 0800 MST Wednesday 9 October 2013, the US Federal government remains shut down and the US Congress has not yet authorized funding for the fiscal year that started on 1 October 2013.

For the time being, NOAO continues to operate in Arizona and Chile, thanks in large part to careful cash management by AURA and NOAO over the last two months in anticipation that such a shutdown might be possible.

However, if the US Congress does not authorize new funding by Friday 18 October, it will be necessary for NOAO to initiate more drastic measures, including furloughs in Arizona and reduced scientific operations on Kitt Peak.

If such measures seem imminent, KPNO will actively reach out to all scheduled observers and all tenant observatories with further information. If you have immediate questions about KPNO, please contact Dr. Lori Allen, Associate Director for KPNO (

In contrast, at this time, NOAO believes operations in Chile can be sustained for several weeks into November. Again, should it appear that service interruptions are imminent, NOAO South will actively reach out to all scheduled observers and tenant observatories. If you have immediate questions about NOAO operations in Chile, please contact Dr. Nicole van der Bliek, Associate Director for NOAO South (

From all of us at NOAO, our thanks for your patience, understanding, and support during this extraordinary moment in US history.


David Silva, Ph.D.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory

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NOAO is the national center for ground-based nighttime astronomy in the United States and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

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