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Important Announcement from the Gemini Board – November 16, 2007

November 16, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 16 NOVEMBER 2007

STATEMENT OF THE GEMINI OBSERVATORY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of the Gemini Observatory has concluded its meeting of November 14-16, 2007 in La Serena, Chile. In addition to its normal business, it considered the implications of the communication by the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom that it may withdraw as a (23.8%) partner in the Gemini Observatory.

The Board deeply regrets the announcement that the UK will likely withdraw as a partner in the Gemini Observatory. The UK astronomical community has made substantial and very valuable contributions to the success of the Gemini partnership from its earliest days. The Board reaffirms its vision for the Observatory and resolves to address any resource problems brought on by the announced UK intentions expeditiously and with minimum impact on the current operation of the Observatory. The Board is confident that the Gemini Observatory will continue to operate efficiently and productively.

The Board approved contracts for conceptual design studies for the cornerstone Wide Field Multi-Object Spectrograph instrument and continues its support for the Gemini Planet Imager currently under construction, both of which are major elements of the “Aspen” instrumentation plan, thereby reaffirming its commitment to the Aspen science vision.