The semester 2008B announcement of opportunity for observing time at the
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma can be found at:

Please feel free to distribute this announcement in your institute.

I would like to bring to your special attention the following aspects
related to the ING telescopes.

1. Last year the laser guide beacon for Adaptive Optics on the WHT was
commissioned. During the next several months science verification and system
characterization will take place, and a special call for service observing
time has been issued (deadline 29 Feb 2008; see ). 
The GLAS laser system is also available for general applications for
observing time in semester 2008B.

2. I highlight here the advent of a new detector for the ISIS spectrograph,
QUCAM. This frame-transfer L3CCD (or EMCCD) allows very fast spectroscopy
with virtually zero read noise. It opens a new window at the WHT on the
highly variable universe. For details please see the ISIS web page under or contact the instrument specialist

3. Although the future of the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope remains uncertain
beyond 2009, we still welcome in particular large proposals for observing
time. The observatory will continue to support this telescope and its
instrumentation into the foreseeable future.

4. INGs future: 
Recent developments in the UK have resulted in rumors over the future of the
ING telescopes on La Palma. Although the future in the longer term is indeed
not guaranteed, there is no indication that the observatory is under
immediate threat. This is probably best indicated by the active development
programme for the WHT, specifically of the ACAM imager that will be
completed this year, and the fact that we expect to sign an agreement very
soon over the deployment of a world-class high-resolution spectrograph
HARPS-NEF that will become available from 2010 onwards. 

Further details of the proposal submission process and current
instrumentation at ING can be found at:

Rene Rutten 
Director, ING
21 February 2008

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