The Gemini Observatory is an astronomical observatory consisting of two 8.19-metre (26.9 ft) telescopes at sites in Hawai‘i and Chile. Together, the twin Gemini telescopes provide almost complete coverage of both the northern and southern skies. They are currently among the largest and most advanced optical/infrared telescopes available to astronomers. The Gemini telescopes were built and are operated by a consortium consisting of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. This partnership is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The United Kingdom dropped out of the partnership in late 2007 before being re-instated again two and a half months later, but has recently announced its intention to end its role in the partnership in 2012. The Gemini Observatory has responded to this pending withdrawal by significantly reducing its operating costs, so that no new partners are required beginning in 2013.
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