SE Europe's Largest Observatory Facing Closure over Lack of Funding

Society | August 31, 2015, Monday // 12:56|  views


Rozhen Observatory, the largest in Southeast Europe is running out of funds and might have to stop working in October, its management has warned.

Located 90 km south of Bulgaria's second-biggest city Plovdiv, the astronomical facility announced a few days earlier it needed BGN 260 000 if it was to be run every day until the end of the year, with shortage in funding for water and electricity.

Bulgaria is facing Rozhen's financial needs as the country is to host the 2016 International Astronomy Olympiad, scheduled to take place either near Plovdiv or Smolyan. 

"All big observatories across the world are supported by the state... We will lose our observatory - and if it stops working we will never be able to get it back on track," Nikola Petrov, who heads the facility, told the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday.

He was referring to the need to provide regular maintenance to the equipment which could not be used again if switched off over a long period of time.

"The problem with astronomy... We do not generate material wealth, but everything created as a result [of astronomical studies] is used elsewhere - and we cannot have revenues directly from it," Petrov added.

Several members of the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS), which set up Rozhen in 1981, earlier called on citizens to donate money and help save the observatory.

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Tags: Rozhen, Nikola Petrov, Bulgarian Academy of Science, BAS, observatory, International Astronomy Olympiad, Plovdiv


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