Another One Bites the Dust: University Closes Observatory, Evicts Famous Astronomer

tom bolton crying on observatory steps photo

Tom Bolton discovered the first black hole using the 75 inch reflector at the David Dunlap Observatory just north of Toronto; how sad to see him sitting on the steps, crying, as the University of Toronto kicks him out and shuts it down, as they sell this green oasis to developers. The university says you can't do good work there anymore because of light pollution; they will take the hundred million or so dollars and invest it in the astronomy program. Bolton disagrees, telling the National Post: "If [the university] had talked to me, I would have told them how we could be doing world-class research," he said. With a modest investment, the university could have returned the observatory to the "showcase" status it had 20 years ago, before "they started running it into the ground by systematically starving us for replacement faculty."

One would think that universities would be custodians of their assets for the long term. Who knows, it may get too expensive and difficult to send their astronomers to Chile. Or maybe people will learn that it is silly to pay to light up the skies when well designed, focused lighting need not pollute. Over the long term, the low density suburbs of Richmond Hill might even revert to farmland. A University with long-term vision might think of those things. Instead they would rather take the money and run. ::National Post

See also: Ban Demolition, Especially by Greedy Universities

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