What do you think the priorities should be for US ground-based astronomy?

by Kelle on August 26, 2011

NOAO, the US national center for ground-based astronomy, is soliciting community input in advance of the NSF’s Astronomy Portfolio review. Some of the NOAO facilities included in that portfolio are the small and medium-aperture telescopes on Kitt Peak in Arizona and Cerro Tololo in Chile and Gemini-North and South. In NSF speak, “the goal of the review is to recommend to AST how support for existing facilities, programs, and activities should be prioritized and interleaved with new initiatives recommended by Astro2010, within the limitations of realistic future budgets.” Basically, they need to figure out what should be cut in order to pay for the shiny new toys we want.

NOAO is interested in your views on questions such as:

  • What are our major challenges in the coming decade? (Either those of NOAO specifically or the US community in general.)
  • Are we addressing these questions from the right point of view?
  • What is your highest priority in the coming decade? (Or what should NOAO’s priorities be?)
  • What do you want to see as an outcome of the Portfolio Review? (Or what should NOAO be aiming for as an outcome of the review?)
  • More generically: what are we doing right or wrong?

NOAO has setup an on-line forum (actually just a comments thread) to collect your feedback. Topics already under discussion are about the plight of small telescopes, cost-saving by supporting more remote observing, and the problem that successful observing proposals don’t come with money to support the observations. What do you think? Let them know.

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