has been noted15 and differs from the organization of space-based solar physics.16 Solar physics will change rapidly over the next 5 years as ATST is constructed and deployed and as older facilities are closed. In addition, the field is likely to expand in areas that directly involve solar effects on Earth. A future solar observatory telescope system would benefit from NSF’s adoption of a unified approach incorporating how at least two of its divisions develop and support a coordinated ground-based solar physics program.

RECOMMENDATION: NSF should work with the solar, heliospheric, stellar, planetary, and geospace communities to determine the best path to an effective and balanced ground-based solar astronomy program that maintains multidisciplinary ties. Such coordination will be essential in developing funding models for the long-term operation of major solar facilities such as the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope and the Frequency-Agile Solar Radiotelescope, and in the development of next-generation instrumentation for them along with the funding of associated theory, modeling, and simulation science.


National Research Council, The Field of Solar Physics: Review and Recommendations for Ground-Based Solar Research, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1989.


NASA has chosen to assign all matters solar to its Heliophysics Science Division within SMD, and the solar and space physics community began its own decadal survey starting in the summer of 2010.

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