The National Science Foundation should "divest" all of its telescopes on Kitt Peak,
according to a panel it commissioned to advise it on expected budget cuts.
Recommended for divestiture: The 4-meter Mayall Telescope, the largest optical
telescope on the mountain; the iconic McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope;
the 2.1-meter telescope; and federal involvement in a multiuniversity telescope called the WIYN.
The report, called a "portfolio review," was commissioned when it became clear to the
NSF's astronomical division that its budget would not grow enough in coming years to
fund new projects and maintain support for old ones.
"This is not a total surprise for us. It's a tough federal budget environment," said
David Silva, director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which runs
NSF-funded facilities on Kitt Peak and in Chile and Hawaii.