exceedingly benign places.
They become animal refuges ..."
Strittmatter, a British astronomer with a Ph.D. from Cambridge,
became director of the U of A's Steward Observatory in 1975, an
appointment he recognized as "a great career opportunity." If the
Large Binocular Telescope isn't built, Strittmatter warns:
"I'd say the future of
astronomy would be detrimentally affected, which is far more
important than my career ... The university is in the top
half-dozen or so astronomy facilities in the country. The Large
Binocular Telescope will have angular resolution of 3-D sharpness
on faint objects. It will be unique in that capability in the world
"The area involved (on Mount Graham) in the
first phase is 8.6 acres or less. Most people can't find (the
site), and when they do, their first reaction is either "Where's
the rest of it?" or "Is this all?"
"I see people
simply inventing reasons to object against the observatory. I don't
think you can put your hands on any documentation - as opposed to
assertions - that actually demonstrated a problem. The National
Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act serve
purposes which I fully support. Unfortunately both laws tend to be
used or misused by people who are trying to achieve certain
land-use decisions ... The thing was studied into the ground.
"(The opponents' objections) are hard to follow
rationally, because observatories are usually exceedingly benign
places. They become animal refuges.
"I think all
through this we've been very willing to change. The only thing we
can't accommodate is no observatory."
* From an
interview with Lisa Jones