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ING Newsletter No. 9, March 2005

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Reference: ING Newsl., No. 9, page 1 - 2.
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Message from the Director

Dear Reader,

In the previous issue of this Newsletter I reported on the initiation of a project for the development of a Rayleigh laser guide star beacon, GLAS, for the WHT. Since then much work has gone into this project, and an important milestone was passed in January with the successful completion of the Preliminary Design Review. The positive outcome of that review implies that the project now moves towards the final design stage, and real money on hardware can now be spent. For example, the solid-state laser system will be purchased shortly. GLAS is a complex and demanding development, with exciting science prospects that make this project worthwhile; watch this space !

Another key event that will take place during the summer of this year is an independent international review of the ING, commissioned by the ING Board. The high-profile committee of four world-renowned astronomers will focus specifically on the medium-term future of the observatory. The views of the wider astronomical community —your views— will play an important role, and to that effect a community questionnaire has been released to provide an easy input channel. Until May 31st input can
be provided through:

In this issue of the Newsletter you will find a fine cross section of science results obtained from the telescopes. But let me point you also to the contributions by S. Hameed that so nicely captures the excitement of conducting astronomical observations, and the one by N. Douglas on a very special public outreach activity.

I end this introduction with two sad notes: Our friend and colleague, Charles Benneker, passed away in October last year. Charles had worked at the observatory for over a decade, specialising on electronics systems and instrument control systems. Charles will be dearly missed and not be forgotten by his friends and colleagues. A commemorative plaque will be located on the WHT.

We were equally shocked to hear that Emilios Harlaftis died as the result of a tragic accident. Emilios had spent several years working at the observatory as support astronomer. After moving back to the UK, and later to his home country, Greece, he always kept close scientific and personal ties with the observatory on La Palma. He will be remembered for his contribution to science and his unconditional enthusiasm for astronomy and the observatory.

René G. M. Rutten

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