Bulgarian Astronomers Pin Hopes on PM to Rescue Observatory
Astronomers from Bulgaria's Rozhen observatory will meet with the country's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Wednesday in a bid to convince him that the observatory should not be closed.
"We need approximately BGN 250 000 by the end of the year in order to survive," Rozhen observatory director Nikola Petrov has told the Bulgarian National Television.
The observatory has already launched a donation campaign in support of its existence.
Rozhen astronomers recently proposed to play a friendly football game with Vitosha Bistritsa, the amateur football team of Boyko Borisov. They subsequently explained that the proposal was a joke intended to draw attention to their problem.
Earlier in November, the observatory - the largest in South-Eastern Europe - warned it will be forced to cease operations if it does not receive additional funds.
"The Rozhen Observatory belongs to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, which has its own budget and is to decide how to spend its money," Finance Minister Simeon Djankov declared on Tuesday.
Since assuming office in 2009, Djankov has launched a relentless campaign against the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, cutting its budget by some 40%, and not refraining from vitriolic attacks against its alleged ineffectiveness.
In 2009, Rozhen astronomers took part in the discovery of WASP 3-c, the first exoplanet detected with a new technique called Transit Timing Variations.
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