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THE DECADE OF DISCOVERY IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS
have changed the scientist's paradigm of the universe from that of an almost boringly uniform expansion to one of startling inhomogeneity that requires huge amounts of unseen matter. Technological breakthroughs in fabricating large mirrors of superb optical quality and in correcting for the distortions introduced by turbulence in the earth's atmosphere now make it possible to build new facilities with unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution.
The recommendations for new equipment (Chapter 1) are designed to make a new generation of powerful facilities available to the U.S. astronomical community. The specific recommendations for investment at the federal level reflect the assumption that, in addition, private and state funds will enable ongoing collaborations to complete one or more 8- to 10-m telescopes in the 1990s. The Keck 10-m telescope, the largest optical telescope in the world, developed by the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, is already under construction on Mauna Kea. The Smithsonian Institution and the University of Arizona are converting the Multiple-Mirror Telescope in Arizona to use a single 6.5-m mirror. Other private consortia are designing additional large telescopes. Pennsylvania State University and the University of Texas have designed a segmented 8-m telescope suitable for spectroscopic surveys. The Columbus project, consisting of two 8-m telescopes on a single mount, is being planned by the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, and a foreign partner, Italy. The Magellan project, currently under consideration by the Carnegie Institution, the University of Arizona, and Johns Hopkins University, aims to put a single 8-m telescope at Las Campanas, Chile (Table 3.1).
Although, under current guidelines, little or no observing time on these large new telescopes will be available to the general astronomical community in the United States, the private telescopes, including the Keck, Columbus, Magellan, and the Spectroscopic Survey telescopes, are important to a balanced program of astronomical research and greatly augment the national capability. The scientific problems described in Chapter 2 require more observing time on powerful telescopes than two national instruments can provide. It is the combination of the federal investment in large telescopes recommended in Chapter 1 with the private initiatives, described only briefly here, that will assure all-sky access for the U.S. astronomical community. Increased investment in instrumentation at all levels—federal, state, and private —will be required to make full use of the capabilities of these telescopes.
Several private-federal partnerships to build new 4-m-class telescopes have been formed; the committee views these partnerships as an innovative way to make the best use of limited federal funds. The WIYN (University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories) telescope project will put a 3.5-m telescope funded by the three universities on Kitt Peak. Operating expenses will be shared by the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) and the universities; the national