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Hawaii astronomers assessing scope of data lost during shutdown

LAST UPDATED: 05:19 p.m. HST, Oct 19, 2013

KAILUA-KONA » Astronomers at Mauna Kea and other sites in the nationwide system of 10 radio telescopes are trying to determine how much damage has been done to their research during the government shutdown.

Dale Frail, director of the Very Long Baseline Array, told West Hawaii Today that the impact to measurements will be difficult to assess.

With Earth in motion, the telescopes must work within precise windows of time to make measurements. Frail said half of the measurements taken at the time of the shutdown will be lost, making worthless a year's worth of research on the motions of spiral arms of galaxies and nearby neutron stars.

Frail said he fears the telescopes also missed a rare opportunity to document a black hole becoming active.

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MC96816 wrote:
They want to observe a black hole? Point the 'scope towards Washington, D.C. A black hole where intelligence and integrity go to die.
on October 19,2013 | 10:02AM
frontman wrote:
They accomplished as much as if they were on the job and they get double back pay to boot.
on October 19,2013 | 10:03AM
localguy wrote:
Double back pay? Where is this reference?
on October 19,2013 | 10:11AM
awahana wrote:
Explain Like I'm 5.
Why did the govt shutdown matter?
on October 19,2013 | 10:27AM
Mythman wrote:
How much distance there is, psychic distance, between our government inside the beltway bubble and the spiral arms of a distant galaxy is incalculable. This is what happens when one party controls the tops of all three branches of government, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, one way or the other. Although they won an election, as a sage observed, there never was any election in which the people choose between freedom and total control. .
on October 19,2013 | 11:42AM
niimi wrote:
We have observed the black hole of Washington DC swallowing up $17 Trillion in money that has still to be repaid.
on October 19,2013 | 12:53PM
entrkn wrote:
Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and the tea party don't know nothing about that stuff...
on October 19,2013 | 02:35PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
Doesn't your talking points include Rand Paul, Paul Ryan , Cruz and Rubio?
on October 19,2013 | 06:58PM
noheawilli wrote:
Are things that slow at the observatories where we can sit around and assess what could have been? Maybe we could all benefit from this exercise of self reflection but that's not what I care to have my tax dollars spent on.
on October 20,2013 | 08:17AM
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