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ING Newsletter No. 8, September 2004

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Reference: ING Newsl., No. 8, page 1 - 2.
Article mirrored at: La Palma server | Cambridge server
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Message from the Director

Dear Reader,

In some aspects the last several months at the observatory, since the previous issue of this Newsletter, have been similar to previous years, and in other aspects there has been major change. To start with the latter, I refer to the very welcome news that the long-sought development of a laser beacon for adaptive optics at the William Herschel Telescope has been approved. Coincidentally, receiving 'green-light' for the project will take on a literal meaning when some two years from now the projection of green laser light will become a regular feature above the telescope. The scientific potential of having the full sky available to adaptive optics exploitation rather than only about 1% as in the case of 'classical' adaptive optics, is excellent. Now it is our task to build a working system, and then to scientifically exploit it. An introductory article on this exciting new project can be found on the following pages. I would very much welcome ideas and suggestions from the user community towards this project.

Coming back to the first sentence of this introduction, activities at the observatory have been as intense as ever. The last several months have once again seen a range of visiting instruments. Three of them were first-time visitors, each with their own very significant technical and astronomical challenges. There was CIRPASS, the near IR spectrograph from Cambridge operating in multi-object mode. There was PLANETPOL from Hertfordshire, measuring polarisation with remarkable acuracy in an attempt to detect planets around stars. And there was S-CAM2, deploying the second-generation of super-conducting tunnel junction detector technology for a range of science programmes. So yes, work at ING has gone on as normal and hasn't been boring for a single moment.

Enjoy this issue of the Newsletter, and note that the editorial team would love to receive contributions from our readers!

René G. M. Rutten (

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