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Astronomy stays international

The Hubble Space Telescope's Pillars of Creation

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The RAS has something to say about the US President's Executive Order limiting movement of people from certain countries.

Science is an international endeavour, none more than astronomy and geophysics. It's hard to limit your horizons to one country when your data, ideas and above all your colleagues and the people you discuss ideas with come from across the globe. So it is heartening to hear strong words of support from the Royal Astronomical Society for scientists who will be affected by this ban on travel to the United States. The RAS has been an international society since its inception nearly 200 years ago, when its Fellows played important roles in the advancement of science for its own sake and to support and promote trade by improving navigation. It remains an international body now, with more than a quarter of Fellows based outside the UK.

The US is a sceintific powerhouse, known worldwide for the spectacular images that are now so much a part of modern culture – this iconic image of the Eagle Nebula, from the joint NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a symbol of all that international collaboration, freely shared, can achieve. Limiting how scientists interact limits ideas and progress. We as scientists can work against this by strengthening our international links; the RAS offers one way to reinforce the links that exist within astronomy and geophysics across the whole world. 

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