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A Strateg,tþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Panel on Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy was convened to determine Astronomy occupies a special place in the whether the strategic balance of support by the research portfolio of this country. NSF for all of optical and infrared (OIR) Understanding the cosmos is one of the oldest astronomy should be adjusted as these giant new intellectual goals of humanity, and the telescopes come on line. In particular, the panel discoveries of astronomers clearly excite the was asked to articulate a new mission for imagination of the public at large. From NOAO. In doing so, the panel had to address primary schools to universities, from planetaria several complex questions. What is the best to features in the media, astronomy offers role for NOAO in U.S. participation in the IGP? numerous opportunities to improve the scientific How can the unique resources of both private literacy of this nation, and astronomers are and NOAO facilities best be deployed? What increasingly engaged in these educational priorities and strategies should be pursued, activities. recognizing that NSF resources for OIR Although for many people astronomy is a astronomy will probably be severely clear example of one of the noblest of basic constrained? research activities, it is often less recognized The panel believes that first priority must that it can and does contribute to other national be given to the development of unique goals. In particular, its research activities telescopes and instrumentation that advance depend on and contribute to the applied technology and provide resources ofnational development of sophisticated sensors, an scope. The Gemini telescopes, the large essential enabling technology for many telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American scientific fields and for the defense, medical, Observatory (CTIO), and the Advanced and commercial sectors, Technologies and Instrumentation (ATI) Modern astronomical facilities, and their program of the NSF's Division of Astronomical sophisticated instrumentation, utilizing state-of- Sciences are clearly in this category. the-art detectors, computing resources, and The panel finds that the case for increased optical design, are expensive. Astronomers are OIR funding is strong within NSF for operating fortunate that the Congress has authorized the the Gemini telescopes. However, it is necessary construction of numerous major national to face the possibility that NSF funding of OIR facilities. National ground-based astronomical astronomy will remain level in real dollars for facilities are supported primarily by the some time. In this eventuality, the panel National Science Foundation (NSF), both in the recommends that the proper instrumentation and construction and operations phases. The two operation of the Gemini telescopes should have 8-meter telescopes of the international Gemini first priority. The panel also affirms the high 8-M Telescopes Project (IGP), in which the priority for the ATI program, which was United States is a 50Yo partner, are currently recommended by the Astronomy and under construction and will be completed by the Astrophysics Survey Committee (AASC) report end of the decade. Considerable investment (The Decade of Discovery in Astronomy and (more than $250 M in the past decade) in large Astrophysics, National Academy Press, telescopes has also been made with nonfederal TVashington, D.C., 199 l). support, such that private observatories now The panel concludes that, with level provide 81% ofthe total telescope area (and funding, major reductions in NOAO operations 760/o of the net diameter) available to U.S. would be required to meet the priorities stated astronomers. Still, roughly half of U.S. above. In this constrained situation the Tucson astronomers must rely entirely on the National scientific, administrative, and technical services Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) for support would have to be scaled back very access to telescopes, and nearly all rely on substantially. The level of support and NOAO facilities for some aspects of their work. convenience offered to observers would have to

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A Strategtfor Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy be reduced, and it is very likely that the smaller The panel recommends that a third strategy telescopes at the Kitt Peak National Observatory be pursued, if further funds are available. In (KPNO) would need to be closed or privatized. this strategy, the NSF astronomy budget would Moreover, to reduce operations costs, the be supplemented by $l0l\{,iyear. The first 4-meter Kitt Peak telescope would have to be $5.5 M would be used as above for Gemini operated with fewer instruments and used operations, and the balance would be used to primarily for wide-field or near-infrared support an augmented program for facility applications. In this case, a large number of instrumentation grants. Independent astronomers whose only access to front-line observatories would be able to compete for research tools is through NOAO telescopes these grants, which would be awarded strictly would be unable to carry out their research and on the basis of scientific merit, but for which U.S. science would suffer. cost sharing, in the form of open access to the The panel has identified a strategy that astronomical community at large, would be a might alleviate such problems and, at the same requirement. Such a program would enable full time, better utilize the very large recent utilization of the enormous investment in both expenditure by the private sector in the federal and nonfederal capital in OIR construction ofnewtelescopes. Specifically, telescopes. the panel recommends the initiation of a new The panel recognizes that when new, state- program at a modest level within the NSF for of-the-art facilities are brought on line, older instrumentation of the privately operated facilities must be retired. All of the options telescopes in exchange for national access. In a outlined above include such painful downsizing. constrained budgetary scenario, such funds In the draconian, flat-budget scenario, the would, of necessity, come from existing NSF community would lose truly first-rate OIR astronomy activities, including the existing instruments, but even in the optimal plan, major ATI program. Even with this new plan, some economies in operations would still be required. 1200 observer nights would be lost, approximately 40% of the present use by the U.S. astronomy community atNOAO nighttime facilities. The above plan is the best that the panel can envision under a flat-budget scenario. But the panel finds the costs in human, educational, and scientific terms to be unacceptably high. In view of the major capital investments in the Gemini telescopes and other major new telescopes, the panel recommends a second strategy, contingent on the availability of additional funds. Specifically, the panel recommends that $5.5 M/year be added to the NSF astronomy budget for international Gemini project operations. If this recommendation is implemented along with the proposed new instrumentation plan, it would allow for far more efficient utilization of existing telescopes. It would still be necessary to slim down the Kitt Peak/Tucson operations, but the consequences for the U.S. astronomy community would not be as draconian as they would be under the first strategy alone.

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A Strategtfor Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy I. INTRODUCTION recommendations regarding NSO might have a major impact on the national strategy for solar The charge to the Panel on Ground-Based research. The OIR Panel did not have the Optical and Infrared Astronomy was as follows: expertise or resources to evaluate this impact properly. Therefore, the chairs of the L Assess the context in which optical and Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics and infrared astronomy will be pursued in the the OIR Panel discussed this issue with Hugh coming decade, including existing and Van Horn of the NSF and reached the planned instruments worldwide, NASA understanding that the OIR Panel was expected missions, and likely technological not to make major recommendations regarding developments. This examination must solar facilities, but only to point out the consider the appropriate mission for the potential impact on solar physics that its National Optical Astronomy Observatories recommendations for NOAO might have. (NOAO); the most effective use of The strategy recommended is intended National Science Foundation (NSF) funds generally to follow the recommendations of the for support of facilities, instrument 1991 NRC report of the Astronomy and development, and research; and how best to Astrophysics Survey Committee, The Decade of structure our efforts to meet the challenges Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics ofthe next decade. (hereafter, the AASC report; National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.), taking into account 2. Within this context, evaluate the mission of developments that have occurred since that the NOAO and define its optimal role report was written. (including both nighttime and solar The goal of the recommended strategy activities) relative to that of other must be to achieve the best science from the government facilities and optical and NSF investment in OIR astronomy. The total infrared astronomy (OIR) university U.S. investment in astronomy includes the observatories and research departments. capital investment and operating funds from This evaluation will take into account both federal, state, and private sources that support the research and educational roles ofthe the NOAO and many independent observatories organizations. as well as the pool of talented astronomers who use these facilities. These astronomers, most of 3. Suggest and evaluate alternative strategies whom teach at colleges and universities, not designed to optimize progress in the field, only advance our knowledge of the universe and taking into account the funding available the frontiers of technology required to gain this from various federal and nonfederal knowledge, but also impart their knowledge and sources and projections for the future. skills to a much greater number of students and Give advice for strategies and priorities to the public. within OIR astronomy in light of the As the panel describes in Sections II and expectation that the NSF resources III, the infrastructure of OIR astronomy is available for these programs will be complex and the scientific opportunities are severely constrained in the coming decade. enoffnous. The major share of NSF funding of OIR astronomy goes to the support of the The OIR Panel was concerned about the NOAO, and the greatest current federal capital reference to solar activities at NOAO in item 2 investment in OIR astronomy is the U.S. share of the charge. Since the National Solar (50%) of the international Gemini telescopes Observatories (NSO) at NOAO constitute a currently under construction. Therefore, major part of the national infrastructure for solar strategic advice for NOAO and for NOAO's physics, the panel was concerned that role in the international Gemini 8-M Telescopes

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A Strategyþr Ground-Based Optícal and Infrared Astronomy Project (IGP) is a vital element of a national recommendation was for an infrared-optimized strategy for OIR astronomy. These issues are 8-meter telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and addressed in Section IV. the third-priority recommendation was for a Astronomy enjoys a unique place among Southern Hemisphere 8-meter telescope. (The the physical sciences in that most of the OIR second priority was for the Millimeter Array.) telescopes in the United States, including the The NSF responded to these recommendations largest ones, were built and are operated with through a commitment to support 50% of the private and state funds (see Section II). Thus, to international Gemini project. Two 8-meter optimize the scientific return of the NSF Gemini telescopes are currently under investment in OIR astronomy, it is necessary to construction; GeminiNorth (Plate 1) is consider a strategy to provide instrumentation scheduled to be fully operational in 2000, and for the independent observatories that own these Gemini South in 2003. telescopes. A recommended strategy, which For moderate ground-based facilities, the includes a provision for national access to these first-priority recommendation of the AASC facilities, is presented in Section V. report was to develop adaptive optics facilities The panel interpreted the reference to to reduce image distortion by atmospheric severely constrained resources in item 3 of the turbulence. The NSF has responded to this charge as a mandate to consider a scenario in recommendation by increasing substantially its which the NSF annual funding of OIR funding of adaptive optics instrumentation. astronomy would have zero growth for the This effort enjoys major contributions from the remainder of the decade (in constant 1994 Department of Defense, which has undertaken dollars). In this scenario, options would be very to declassiff its advanced technology for limited, and drastic cuts would be necessary. adaptive optics, and from the Department of However, in view of the major capital Energy. These agencies support very promising investment in astronomy from both federal and programs in laser guide star technology at the private sources, and substantial growth in the Air Force Phillips Laboratory and the Lawrence number of astronomers, the panel considered Livermore National Laboratory, respectively. scenarios in which the NSF base budget for OIR The potential scientific yield of adaptive optics astronomy would be increased during the technology is enormous. Most of the work to coming decade by an amount comparable to that develop and deploy this technology remains to required to support Gemini operations. Such an be done; but, as the recent infrared images of increase would enable the United States to the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with realize fully the enorrnous scientific potential of Jupiter demonstrate, astronomers are already the nation's telescopes. beginning to realize the benefits. The AASC report's second-priority recommendation for moderate ground-based II. THE STATUS OF OIR facilities was for the development of facilities ASTRONOMY and technology for OIR interferometry. The NSF has responded to this recommendation by The AASC Report increasing its support of technology development for this area. The twin 1O-meter The panel first summarizes briefly the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, the first of recommendations of the AASC report regarding which is now operational and the second of OIR astronomy and the new developments that which is currently under construction, will have occurred since that report was written. provide a major new facility for OIR Substantial progress has been made toward interferometry. achieving the AASC report's recommendations The AASC report's third-priority for new facilities in OIR astronomy. For major recommendation for moderate ground-based new ground-based facilities, the fi rst-priority

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A Strategt þr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy facilities was for the construction of several new facilities without an increase in the net funding 4-meter-class telescopes, supported insofar as for astronomy. For example, sufficient funds possible through a combination of federal, state, for the support of the infrastructure of other and private funds. Substantial progress has been unique facilities, such as the National Radio achieved toward this goal with the successful Astronomy Observatory's (NRAO) Very Long completion of the 3.5-meter ARC telescope at Baseline Anay (VLBA) and Very Large Array Apache Point, New Mexico, operated by a (VLA), have not materialized, and these consortium ofstate and private institutions and instruments are currently operating in a less than funded partially by the NSF, and the 3.S-meter optimal fashion. Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NoAo (WIYN) A major problem for the NSF is to identifo telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory the funds required to operate the U.S. share of (KPNO), constructed and operated by a the IGP without encroaching on individual consortium of private and state universities and research grants or impacting the operations of the NOAO. These excellent telescopes are other important facilities. To do this in a demonstrating the high scientific performance constrained budget scenario will require a enabled by new technologies and the financial further focusing ofpriorities and resources at efficiency of cost-sharing arrangements. More NOAO. While NOAO might achieve further such telescopes are needed, however, most effi ciencies, certain telescope- instrument urgently in the Southern Hemisphere. combinations would probably have to be closed The AASC report's highest-priority if NOAO were required to absorb the full cost recommendation for ground-based astronomy of the U.S. share of Gemini operations. was not for new facilities, however. It was for Furthermore, NOAO's ability to develop new the "strengthening ofthe infrastructure for instruments and telescopes and to meet the research, that is, increased support for observing needs of the nation's astronomers individual research grants and for the would be seriously impaired by such a maintenance and refurbishment of existing requirement. frontier equipment at the national observatories" (pp. 12-13). In particular, the AASC report Current Resources for OIR Astronomy recommended that "the NSF should include The NSF Astronomy Budget appropriate financial provision for operation of Figure I illustrates the distribution of the any new telescope in the plan for that facility," NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences 1994 and that "individual research grants be increased funding (total is approximately $105 M, to an adequate and stable fraction of the NSF's excluding the $17 M construction costs of the total operations budget for astronomy. In order to gather and analyze the large amounts of data IGP). The dark shaded area represents support of radio astronomy, through the NRAO, the that will become available with new National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center instrumentation, to allow young researchers to (NAIC) at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and the take advantage ofthe new opportunities for independent radio observatories. The hatched discovery, and to restore support for theoretical "other" portion ofthe grants program supports astrophysics, the individual grants budget primarily individual research grants in should be increased by $10 million per year" (pp. l3-la). theoretical and computational astrophysics and in radio, solar, and planetary astronomy. (Of The NSF Division of Astronomical course, many individual investigations are also Sciences has not yet been able to implement supported by NSF through grants to fully this paramount recommendation of the observatories.) The white segment of Figure 1 AASC report. Moreover, the NSF will find it represents support primarily for OIR astronomy, impossible to address this recommendation or including grants to individual investigators, the remaining recommendations for new development grants from the Advanced

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A Strategt for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy Technologies and Instrumentation (ATI) the VLBA. Excluding VLBA construction, the program, and the OIR part of NOAO. The black NRAO operating budget increased by about segment of Figure 1 represents support of solar 23o/o,from $23.6 M in 1985 to $29.0 M in 1994. astronomy through the NSO and the Global The NOAO budget, excluding Gemini Oscillation Network Group (GONG) project. construction but including the GONG project, decreased by about I0o/o,from $30.5 M in 1985 SOLAR 140.00 8.5 120.00 1 00.00 n GEMTNT CONST. = 80.00 n NoAo o o 60.00 n ATr otR 19.0 40.00 T GRANTS 20.00 m RADTO OBS. 0.00 lltr NArc O@F@OOFNOS @o@@@ooooo oooooooooo Jü NRAO YEAR ATt8.2 NA|C 8.3 Figure 2. History of funding of NSF Division of RADIO Astronomical Sciences from 1985 to 1994. Funding oBS.7.2 primarily for radio astronomy, including NRAO, OTHER NAIC, and the independent radio observatories, is 16.7 shown with a vertical shiped pattern, The NRAO wedge includes funds for construction of the VLBA but not the $75 M funding appropriated by Congress Figure 1. Distribution of NSF Division of in 1989 for construction ofthe Green Bank telescope. Astronomical Sciences 1994 funding ($M; total is The NAIC wedge includes funds for the Arecibo approximately $105 M). telescope upgrade. Funding primarily for OIR astronomy, including the ATI program, NOAO Figure 2 shows the history of funding of (including solar astronomy), and Gemini construction, is shown as white. Funding of grants to astronomy research by the NSF in the decade individual investigators, including grants for OIR from 1985 to 1994. The net funding (in astronomy but excluding grants for the ATI program constant 1994 millions of dollars, corrected for and the independent radio observatories, is shown as inflation) decreased by about SYofrom 1985 to black. 1990, then increased to a maximum in 1992 of about $118 M (excluding Gemini construction), or about $130 M (including Gemini), and has to $27 .5 M in 1994. The funding of grants to decreased thereafter. The funding of astronomy, individual investigators decreased by as a fraction of the total NSF Mathematical and approximately 78%o, from $25.8 M in 1985 to Physical Sciences Directorate budget, has $21.1 M in 1993, but was restored in 7994 to decreased from 19.3Yo in 1984 to l7.2%o in $25.0 M, 3% less than the 1985 level. The two 1994, excluding major capital construction most significant qualitative changes are the projects such as Gemini. Including them, the increase by a faetor 3.5 ofthe budget for the fraction has decreased from 19.3%to 78.4o/o ATI program, from approximately $2.5 M in during the same decade. 1985 to $8.7 M in 1994, and the construction Some redistribution of funding within the budget for the international Gemini project. NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences budget As noted by the AASC report, the shortage is evident in Figure 2. The rapid decrease in the offunding to support research by individual NRAO budget after 1992 may be attributed to investigators has become acute. This remains the termination of funding for construction of true despite the fact that the NSF grants

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A Strategtþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy program was restored in 1994 to approximately the cost to do so will rise to approximately the 1985 level, because the number of $2.5 M by 2003. With level funding, NOAO astronomers (measured either by the number of can support U.S. scientific access to Gemini members of the American Astronomical Society only by reducing support of other activities that or by the number of papers published in the it currently supports. Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal) has increased by approximately 40Yo during the same decade' (Much of this growth can be attributed to rapid growth of NASA programs in space astrophysics.) Astronomy is a growing science, and that has resulted in keener competition, both for research grants and for access to facilities at the national observatories. The Gemini Proiect National Science Foundation funding for ú@@oNt the U.S. commitment of $88 M to support 50% àõoooo õõãtooo of the costs to build the two 8-meter Gemini ==-NNN YEAR telescopes (including an initial complement of instruments) commenced in 1991. The U'S' Figure 3. U.S. funding of Gemini operations, funding profile for Gemini construction is front- showing the U.S. 507o commitment for operations of the Gemini telescopes through the IGP and also the loaded, and the obligation will be met with the cost estimated by NOAO for the USGPO to support final U.S. payment of $41 M in 1995. But then, U.S. scientific access. the NSF is committed to pay the IGP 50% of the Gemini operations costs, including instrument upgrades. Figure 3 shows the NSF commitment NOAO for 50o/o of IGP operations;the planned funding NOAO maintains two nighttime OIR sites: profile begins in 1997 and will rise to a steady- Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo. Kitt Peak is a state annual rate of $5'5 M by 2003, when reasonably dark site in an area with strong light Gemini South becomes fully operational. The pollution laws. It has good seeing need to identify the source of funds for characteristics, judging by the recent successes international Gemini operations is the main of the Michigan-Dartmouth-Massachusetts problem for NSF to solve, in order that U'S' Institute of Technology (MDM) 2.5-metet OIR astronomy can realize the scientific yield telescope and the WIYN telescope' Cerro of its investment in the two telescopes. Tololo has superb seeing characteristics, The IGP is intended to support only the judging from the site survey work, although the management, operations, facilities, and current telescopes do not deliver optimal instrumentation development for the telescopes images. Cerro Tololo (see back cover) is a themselves. Each participating nation is superb photometric site and very dark. Work on expected to provide for the research needs ofits controlling light pollution has begun' own astronomers who will use the Gemini telescopes, including travel, data archiving and distribution, and limited support for instrumentation development' The NOAO is planning to redirect its internal resources to support these activities through the U'S. Gemini Project Office (USGPO) and has estimated that

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A Strategl,t for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy Table 1. NOAO Telescopes and Oversubscription Rates Oversubscription Rate Nights Scheduled by Nights Telescope Focal Ratios Feb. 1994-Jan.1995 Feb. 1994-Jan. i995 (darVbright) Kitt Peak National Observatory 4-m 2.7l8lls 278 3.012.0 3.5-m WIYN 6.9 2.7-m 7.slls 286 2.5/2.0 1.3-m l5 260 1.5 0.9-m 7 .5/t3.5 274 2.011.9 0.9-m Coudé Feed 31 258 1.2 0.6/0.9-m Schmidt 3.5 131 1.9 Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory 4-m 2.718/15 298 2.6/2.7 1.5-m 7.slt3.s/30 332 L412.4 1.0-m l0 223 0.9/2.1 0.9-m l3.5 307 t.6/t.0 0.6/0.9-m Schmidt 3.5 191 1.3 Table I lists the NOAO telescopes. At device (CCD) and at CTIO to less than that with both sites, the premier 4-meter telescopes are a1024 x 7024 CCD). At CTIO the 1.0-meter moderately wide-field (45 arc minutes) Ritchey- telescope is shared with Yale University and the Chrétien reflectors. At Kitt Peak, an f/I5 0.6-meter telescope (dedicated to single-channel secondary is used to optimize infrared photometry) is shared with Lowell Observatory. capabilities and achieve commonality with the All the telescopes with apertures of 1 meter or 2.7- and 1.3-meter telescopes. The new less have very restricted instrumentation to 3.5-meter WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak will provide for efficient operation. provide wide fields, up to 1 degree for the KPNO hosts approximately 600 multiobject spectrometry port and 0.5 degree for astronomer-visits per year for use of its the WIYN port. The WIYN telescope has telescopes and CTIO approximately 200 per already delivered images at the 0.4" level. The year. Table 1 lists the scheduling and Schmidt telescopes at KPNO and Cerro Tololo oversubscription rates (nights requested/nights Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) are scheduled) in 1994 for all NOAO telescopes. It university-owned, with the observing time shows that in 1994 the smaller (2.1 m or less) shared. They are both capable ofS-degree telescopes at KPNO provided some 1200 fields (but limited at the moment to 1 degree at observer-nights, or approximately 43%o of all KPNO with a 2048 x 2048 charge-coupled NOAO observing time.

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A Strategtfor Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy Helmut Abt's studies* on the cost- Oscillation Network Group (GONG). Figure 4b effectiveness oftelescopes, the research done at shows the distribution that results when the NOAO, and institutional productivities all show Tucson central services and AURA management that NOAO has been scientifically productive. are prorated among the various functions they Moreover, many major astronomical discoveries support, according to estimates provided by have been made with NOAO telescopes. A few NOAO. In Figure 4b, the support of the image of the many examples include the Infrared reduction and analysis facility (IRAF) project, Tully-Fisher relationship, the Bootes Void, the the USGPO, and the WIYN telescope are shown Lyman alpha forest, the first gravitational lens, separately. The chart shows that of the $27.1 M and the flat rotation curves of spiral galaxies. NOAO budget for 1993, $18.6 M was devoted The competitive access to NOAO to support of nighttime OIR astronomy and telescopes is crucial to the nation's science. The $8.5 M was devoted to solar astronomy. panel examined NSF grant funding over the three-year period from 1991 to 1993 to identifu GONG 2.6 the dollar amounts that have gone to researchers at institutions with guaranteed access to telescopes with apertures of 2 meters and larger, NSOTSP 2.2 and those at institutions lacking such facilities. AUR,A 0.5 Omitting astrometric programs and solar astronomy, 55% of the funding in OIR CENTRAL 4.3 observational research has gone to those with "perennial access." The remaining 45Yo has gone to those with "annual competitive access," and who presumably rely absolutely on NOAO Figure 4a. The 1993 NOAO funding distribution for the capability to carry out some, most, or (in $M;total is $27.1M). even all of their research. Since NOAO now includes only 20Yo of the telescopes with apertures of 2 meters or greater, the "annual" category i s extremely competitive scientifically, and NOAO has played a fundamental role in enabling these scientists and their graduate students to conduct their research. Figure 4 shows more detailed breakdowns of the NOAO budget in 1993, the most recent year for which such data are available. Figure 4b. The 1993 NOAO budget distribution Figure 4a represents funding explicitly with the Tucson central services and AURA designated for support of Kitt Peak National management pro-rated among the various functions Observatory ffPNO); Cerro Tololo Inter- they support, based on estimates provided by NOAO American Observatory (CTIO); the U.S. Gemini (in $M;total is $27,1M). Project Office (USGPO); general administrative, scientific, and technical support Currently, NOAO has a net staff of 455 at the NOAO Tucson headquarters ("central") full-time equivalents (FTEs), of which 224 are and the Association of Universities for Research located in the downtown Tucson headquarters, in Astronomy,Inc. (AURA), management fee 48 are located at Kitt Peak, 4l at Sacramento (vertically shaded); and support ofsolar Peak, and 142 at Cerro Tololo. Figure 5 shows astronomy (horizontally shaded) through the the organizational distribution of the NOAO National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak staff. Figure 6 shows the distribution of the (NSO/SP) and Tucson (NSO/T) and the Global CTIO staff according to function, and Figure 7

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A Strategyþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy shows the same distribution of the KPNO and Since that time, most of the original signatories NOAO Tucson staff excluding NSO and have built their own Northern Hemisphere GONG. The net NOAO staffing devoted to telescopes and so are much less dependent on nighttime OIR astronomy has decreased by KPNO. In the meantime, departments of about6Yo from 1989 to 1994. astronomy have grown in many universities that were not original signatories to the AURA agreement and that today do not have access to 199¡f NOAO Staffing: Totel = 455 independent observatories. Approxim ately 5 0o/o of active OIR astronomers in the United States have access to independent observatories, while the remainingí}% must rely on NOAO for access to telescopes. CENTRAL 9,I 1994 KPNO + Tucson Stafflng: Totel = 220 I sctENrsrE 30 Figure 5. Distribution of NOAO staff by I ENGINÉERSAND organization. PRoGRAI,¡MERS ,12 E AoMtNtsrRATrvE 22 ø CLERIC,AL 36 El TEGHNrcrANs 63 M MAINIËNANGE 37 1994 CTIO Stafilngi foþl = 142 Figure 7. Distribution of KPNO plus NOAO ! sctENTtsrs tõ Tucson staff according to function (excluding I ENG|NEERS aNo PROGRAMMERS II NSO and GONG). n ADM|NISTRAÍVE to Ø cLERtcAL 26 E fËcHNtctaNs 33 Antarctic Programs M MAINIENANCE 4I The NSF also supports OIR astronomy research at the South Pole through a grant of $21 M for frve years from the Division of Polar Figure 6. Distribution of CTIO staff according to Programs to the Center for Astrophysical function. Research in Antarctica (CARA), a consortium involving the Center for Astrophysics, Boston To understand the diversity of OIR University, Carnegie Mellon University, the facilities in the United States, it is important to University of Chicago, and the University of consider the historical context in which the Colorado. This program supports SPIREX, a national observatories were established. In the 60-centimeter infrared-optimized telescope; early 1950s, the California astronomers had a ASTRO, a 1.7 -meter submillimeter telescope; monopoly on facilities at excellent sites, with and COBRA, a}-meter telescope to measure the the telescopes on Mt. Wilson, Mt. Palomar, and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave Mt. Harnilton. To enable scientists from other background radiation. institutions to carry out front-line research in OIR astronomy, KPNO was founded in 1957 by a consortium of universities that established AURA to manage the operations for the NSF. CTIO was founded by NSF and AURA in 1964 to provide access to Southern Hemisphere skies. t0

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A Strategtfor Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy NASA The Independent Observatories The National Aeronautics and Space Table 2lists all current and planned Administration Solar System Exploration telescopes with aperture greater than2.0 meters Division supports the 3-meter Infrared that will be available to U.S. astronomers, Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea and including both the "national" telescopes has made a commitment to support part of the operated by NOAO and NASA and those construction of the infrared-optimized Keck 2 telescopes operated by independent telescope and future operations of the Keck observatories (including the Smithsonian telescopes in return for 116 time on the two Astrophysical Observatory). It shows that the Keck telescopes. The NASA telescope time telescopes at the independent observatories will be available for national access through currently comprise roughly 8l% of the total peer-reviewed competition. Observations collecting area (and 76%o of the net diameter) of related to solar system studies and origins of such telescopes and that this situation will planetary systems will have priorþ prevail for the foreseeable future. Even more remarkable is the fact that the net area of all major U.S. telescopes will increase by a factor of 2.45 within a decade. The net capital investment (not including operating expenses) of private and state funds in telescopes that will be built by the independent observatories between 1985 and 2000 already exceeds $250 M and will certainly exceed $300 M before the end of the century. *Abt, H. 1990. Publ. Aston. Soc. Pacific 92,249 (1980);97, 1050 (1985); 105,794 (1993). ll

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A Strategtþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy projects for certain staff. For the FY 1993 to an open competition and will bring their own FY 1994 period there appeared to be an funding. imbalance between the number of optical and In any case, an engineering and scientific infrared projects, and there was no clear user core must exist within NOAO to, at a minimum, pressure for some projects. The panel found no sustain the telescopes, the control systems, and consistent records oftrue project costs and instruments, and to help set specifications and personnel utilization within the Tucson office of see that they are met for facility-class NOAO; this was particularly true of KPNO and instruments. Access to engineering time is the Central Services at NOAO headquarters' crucial, whether the instrument is built inside or More rigorous project management tools outside NOAO. should be used to track costs and schedules of NOAO should concentrate resources for in- NOAO departments. The panel recommends house instrument development to build on its that a reorganizedNoAo make use of focused current strengths, with a focus on detectors, teams of scientists and engineers to work on a controllers, and fibers. Telescopes need large given project from conception to completion. formats in the optical and infrared, especially (The panel found examples of this team given the clear needs for wide-field imaging. approach in two new autonomous teams: the NOAO should play arole in Gemini GONG group of NOAO and the engineering instrumentation develoPment. group of the international Gemini project') Both KPNO and CTIO should, whenever Focused teams will be particularly useful in appropriate, build their instruments in collaborative instrumentation projects and collaboration with outside groups. should further improve the accounting of project Looking toward the future, and to costs. It would be helpful to identiff a maximize efficiency, NOAO should actively "customer" for each new instrument before explore time trading and dedicated facility development. instrument collaborations with private Finally, the panel found evidence for a observatories that have new-technology wide range of motivation among the service, telescopes. In the best scenario, time trading engineering, and scientific staff. The newer could result in a net savings for the NSF, better staff appeared overworked (very common in science, and reduced operations and national laboratories in this transition period). maintenance costs. Without reorganization, these problems will only become worse in the Gemini era. Data Analysis Software The most successful cases of NOAO has performed an extremelY instrumentation development at NOAO can be important service in the development and traced to good teamwork. Examples are the maintenance of the IRAF image data analysis teams that developed the Hydra multifiber software system, which has become the most spectrograph and the infrared cameras' The IGP widely used international standard for engineering group operates very effectively in astronomical data analysis. However, IRAF this way. NOAO might do well to emulate the was written in a fashion that makes it difficult IGP's most successful teams in all the NOAO for outside groups to contribute original code; engineering programs. the result is a product that is too dependent on NOAO should consider contract the programming staff in Tucson' The IRAF engineering firms as an alternative source of development did not take full advantage of the engineering support to replace a fraction of its very considerable software expertise outside present engineering and technical staff' Tucson. The panel encourages NOAO to Supplemental engineering talent could be consider the development of the next generation brought in as needed for Gemini instruments, of data analysis software, but this time to for example, as those instruments will be bid in 27

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A Strategt þr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy develop a more open system with stronger o Community user interface and service, community participation in the project. including wide-band links o Coordination of north-south and Gemini- Observer Support KPNO-CTIO observing programs o Targeted facility instrument production Finally, in order to ensure that astronomers who win time on NOAO telescopes have a In a constrained budget environment, it is minimum level of support necessary to carry out impossible to maximize the opportunities for their proposed science, the panel recommends scientific leadership, both in the excellence of that NSF give NOAO the responsibility and the facilities and in the scientific productivity of necessary funds to support travel, lodging, and those facilities, without sacrificing something. publication costs of observers who win time at NOAO should not attempt to satisfy all the NOAO facilities but lack other sources of diverse observing requirements of the nation's support. astronomers. Nor should it attempt to serve the maximum number of astronomers that its Summary Recommendations for NOAO facilities will bear. It is likely that in a The panel repeats its main scientifically optimum strategy, the annual recommendations for the future role of NOAO number of hands-on users of NOAO facilities as the Gemini era approaches. These will decrease, and so the competition for time recommendations are appropriate no matter on NOAO facilities will become even more what the future budgets may be. severe. In the panel's view such a strategy for NOAO's role is the only way to ensure that Role of USGPO astronomers who win time on NOAO . U.S. user interface facilities will be using the best facilities in the ¡ Technical support for observing world, and to their best advantage. o Liaison with IGP There may be a way, however, for all U.S. ¡ Performance optimization of Gemini astronomers to retain access to a broad spectrum telescopes of observing options even as NOAO becomes ¡ Support for Gemini instrumentation more naffowly focused. For a possible means to development achieve this, we turn to the independent Role of CTIO observatories, discussed in the following o Support for visitors at CTIO telescopes and section. Gemini South r Performance optimization and operation of Gemini South and telescopes on La Serena V. INSTRUMENTATION AT and Cerro Pachon INDEPENDENT OBSERVATORIES o Development of some instruments ¡ Development of a new-technology 3- to Background 4-meter-class telescope As described in Section II, in "Current Role of KPNO Resources for OIR Astronomy," the independent observatories control more than o Support of visitors at KPNO telescopes ¡ of three-fourths of the major telescope assets Performance optimization and operation available to U.S. astronomers, and this situation several telescopes, especially WIYN o will prevail for the foreseeable future. Thanks Development of some instruments to efforts by visionary astronomers and to the Role of NOAO Tucson generosity of individuals, foundations, and state ¡ NOAOadministrativeheadquarters governments, U.S. astronomers have the capacity to carry out far more research in OIR 28

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A Strategtþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy astronomy than can be supported by NSF funds Astronomical Sciences to provide such a alone. funding level, especially in view of the need for New technologies offer opportunities to funding Gemini operations and modernizing the increase the performance of all telescopes by telescopes at NOAO, and for NOAO to provide huge factors at relatively modest cost compared a broad spectrum ofobserving options to the to that of the telescopes themselves. The cost of nation's astronomers. Indeed, the panel cannot these new instruments is not trivial, however. A realistically expect NOAO to meet these major facility-class instrument, such as a demands in any case. As has been discussed, to multiobject spectrograph, can cost several maintain scientific leadership within a million dollars. As adaptive optics technology constrained budget, NOAO must narrow its becomes more mature, the panel foresees a focus to those activities it can do best. If it does widespread demand to implement this so, the panel must then ask: Is there another technology to improve the performance of many way to provide some of the observing options major telescopes. thatNOAO must curtail? Many independent observatories lack the financial resources to equip their telescopes A New Program for Instruments at with instrumentation that will enable the Independent Observatories telescopes to perform at their full potential. In For the above reasons, the Panel many instances, NSF investment in recommends that the NSF Division of instrumentation for independent observatories Astronomical Sciences establish a new will be the most cost-effective way to achieve program to provide instruments at specific goals of OIR astronomy. A modest independent observatories that agree to increment in NSF's astronomY provide national peer-reviewed access to instrumentation budget is reasonable given their facilities in proportion to the funds the $300 M ofstate and private capitalization provided. for the new large telescoPes. The proposed facility (including possibly To estimate the net cost of providing an instrument, a mirror, and/or a telescope) must modern instrumentation for telescopes at the leverage substantial nonfederal investment, independent observatories, one can assume which may be in the form of existing telescopes conservatively that every such telescope listed built with nonfederal funds and/or cost sharing in Table I should be equipped with one new with nonfederal funds. facility-class instrument every five years, and NSF funds must be used only to provide that the average cost per instrument will be capital equipment that will directly augment the $2 M for telescopes of aperture 2 to 5 meters scientific performance of the telescope. The and $5 M for telescopes ofaperture greater than panel does not recommend that NSF provide 5 meters. (This estimate is consistent with one funds for operations or maintenance of made by a group of observatory directors at a independent observatories. That would only recent meeting.) The calculation yields a net create a dangerous incentive for independent funding rate of $12.4 Mlyear. Assuming that observatories to begin counting on the NSF to the independent observatories share roughly make up for inadequate fiscal planning' 30% ofthe costs on average, a very strong This program should be distinguished from scientific case exists for NSF to support the the ATI program. In such a program, it is oftcn development of such instruments at a level of impossible to predict that a given effort will about $9 M per year. Such a funding level yield a working device, which would probably would vastly increase the scientific productivity not be suitable for general use in any case. In of the nation's telescoPes. contrast, the instruments to be funded under the In a constrained funding environment, it is program the panel recommends should have a unrealistic for the NSF Division of reasonable expectation of providing important 29

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A Strategyþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy and reliable observational capability, based on The panel suggests that NSF implement prior successful experience with similar this program immediately, beginning with a instruments. Of course, there is a continuum portion of existing funding in the present ATI between ATI and the development of facility program and augmenting the program as rapidly instruments. It would be inappropriate to rule as the availability of new funds permits. Since out some level of innovation and risk in the the scheme for national access is untried, we latter. Therefore, ongoing judgments will be need to gain some experience to know whether required to determine whether the proposed it will in fact deliver excellent science at low facility instrument meets the "reasonable cost. If the program can provide a broad and expectation" criterion. A mechanism to make growing range of observing options to all such judgments is suggested in the subsection astronomers through its provision for national "Review of Proposals for Instrument access, the need for NOAO to provide such a Development" below. range of options on its own facilities will This program should be regarded as diminish. This scheme might create an experimental, and its growth or termination environment in which all observatories can should depend on scientific performance. realize cost savings by specializing their Appropriate indicators of performance are facilities. The need for immediacy arises from (l) the quality ofthe science produced, by the fact that there is a window of a few years astronomers at the host institution and by before NSF must provide its full share of external users, as a result of the program; (2) the Gemini operations costs. At that time, NSF and number and quality of proposals to build new NOAO may have to make hard choices instruments; and (3) the intensity and quality of regarding priorities for facilities. These choices the competition for national access to the might be more optimal if they could be made on facilities. the basis of some experience with the new The panel believes that an appropriate level instrumentation program. of NSF support for this program is about $7 M/year. In fact, the NSF already supports Guidelines for National Access the development of OIR instrumentation The goals ofthe national access provision through its grants program, at a current level of are (1) to ensure that the program yields the best about $7 Mlyear (Section II). Most (abottt75%) science, (2) to provide national access to a broad of the NSF funding for OIR instrumentation has range of observing facilities, and (3) to realize been devoted to the development ofadvanced the cost savings that may accrue from efficient technologies, such as adaptive optics and modes of operation of independent interferometry. Funding of these activities was observatories. To achieve these goals, the panel highly recommended by the AASC repoft, and proposes the following guidelines. this panel recommends that NSF continue to First, the conditions for national access fund such programs aggressively with no strings must be flexible and responsive to the operating attached. However, some (about 25%) of the constraints of each participating observatory. ATI funding of OIR astronomy has been used to Any provisions requiring substantial changes in build facility instruments and telescopes at operations will drive costs up and will be a independent observatories. The panel deterrent for that observatory to participate in recommends that this fraction, about $2 I\4/year the program. Therefore, in the first instance the in 1993, be removed from the ATI program and participating observatory should propose its augmented by approximately $5 M/year of new own provisions for national access so as to funds in the NSF Division of Astronomical minimize the impact on costs. In an optimum Sciences budget to meet the recommended system, the possible modes of national access funding level of the new facility instrumentation might vary widely from one observatory to program. another. For example, one observatory might 30

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A Strategt for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy elect to provide only "data on demand," through independent observatory has built a modern queue observing by its own staff. An 3.S-meter telescope, at a net capital cost of observatory equipped for remote observing $ l5 M, and submits a proposal to NSF for might provide that option. Another observatory funding to build an instrument costing $3 M. might elect to provide hands-on training of Suppose that the observatory wishes to students by its own staff, and another might discharge its obligation to provide national support long-term projects by experienced access over a period of six years. Assuming that astronomers. Of course, observatories could the telescope value decreases exponentially with also choose to provide any combination of the a mean life of 20 years, the net depreciation of services listed above (or others not listed). the telescope during the first six years would be A mechanism is needed to ensure that the $3.9 M. Suppose further that the annual aggregate of participating observatories will operating costs are $ I .5 M. Then, the net cost meet national needs for a variety of observing to the observatory for the fìrst six years would facilities and modes. It is important for each be $12.9 M. Then, a reasonable fraction of participating observatory to understand whether telescope time to provide for national access its provisions for national access are responsive would be ($3 M)/($tZ.q M) = 0.23, or about 85 to unfulfilled needs. Since NOAO already has nights per year for six years. responsibility to provide national access, and As a second example, suppose that the much experience in doing so, NOAO might Keck Observatory submits a proposal to NSF undertake the responsibilities to provide this for $4 M to support in part the construction of a information and work with proposing new instrument and wishes to discharge its observatories toward an optimal balance of obligation for national access in four years. options to the national community. The Then, assuming a capital investment of $80 M, a proposing observatories would be able to mean life of 20 years, and operating costs of discuss their provisions for national access with $6 M/year, a similar calculation yields 38 nights NOAO before submitting their proposal, and per year ofnational access to Keck for four perhaps modifu these provisions to be more years. However, in this case a further correction responsive to unmet needs as appropriate. is warranted because the OIR astronomers at the The primary goal of the program is to California Institute of Technology and the enable excellent science, for both the University of California system already astronomers at independent observatories and represent a significant fraction (about 15%) of those without access to their own facilities. the active OIR astronomers nationwide. Since it Therefore, the fraction of telescope time would be awkward for these astronomers to provided for national access by participating apply for national access time on their own observatories should be proportionate to the telescope, it would be appropriate to reduce the NSF funds provided for new instrumentation, as national access time by a factor of 0.85, giving a a fraction of the amortized capital cost of the final result of32 nights per year for four years. nonfederal facilities. If the fraction were Additional examples of sharing are the greater, that would remove the incentive for Sloan Digital Sky Survey and 2MASS. These many of the best independent observatories to are projects currently being undertaken by participate and the program would not yield the university consortia to produce large-scale best science. If less, the program would not photometric and spectroscopic surveys using meet the national need for access to a broad special-purpose telescopes and instruments. In spectrum of observing options. these examples, the national benefit is open The principle of proportionate access and access to extraordinarily powerful and unique how much national access time the program databases. Such arrangements would be might deliver can be illustrated by two attractive to the owners of the telescopes if they hypothetical examples. First, suppose that an were to individually reap more, not less, high- 31

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A Strategtþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy quality data by participating in such a program. The proposed terms for national access, That may be true in many cases, because including a plan for user support, would then modern instruments with wide fields can often become part of the proposal to NSF for the new provide major gains in telescope efficiency' For instrument. The proposal should then be judged such a scheme to be acceptable to the on overall scientifrc merit, with criteria community, it is also essential that new funding, including (l) the value of the science enabled not repackaged funding, be used to initiate this for both the host observatory and national users, program. (2) the scientific leverage provided by An instrumentation program funded nonfederal cost sharing, and (3) the extent to steadily at the recommended level of $7 Mlyeat which the proposed instrument meets an would provide for national access the equivalent unfulfi lled scientific requirement. of 85 nights per year of Keck time plus two Finally, the panel recommends that the modern 3.S-meter telescopes full-time. (In fact, national access time provided by the the aggregate program might yield a richer mix participating independent observatories be of observing options.) This program could distributed through a national time allocation significantly alleviate the current shortage of committee (TAC). Of course, before the TAC access time to well-equipped telescopes. The meets, the independent observatories should national access time provided would not be the screen proposals to use their facilities, just as only scientific benefit of the program, however. NOAO does. The TAC will need to know Additional scientific benefit would result from whether the proposals are suitable for that the increased observing power that would facility and the reasons, technical and otherwise. accrue to the independent observatories. A nationalTAC would have the following These hypothetical examples are intended advantages: (1) it would ensure that the not to serve as specific guidelines, but rather to national access time is granted on the basis of illustrate the principles by which a reasonable scientific merit alone, as determined by amount of national access might be calculated. competitive peer review; (2) astronomers could The program will probably work best if propose to a single agency, according to a participating observatories are free to propose standard format; (3) if a proposal were found to any provisions that they see fit. For example, an be scientifically excellent but unsuitable for a observatory may wish to propose a mix of given observatory, the TAC could attempt to observing options on a variety ofits telescopes. identiff an alternative facility; and (4) a single The panel believes that the review process TAC would probably be the most efficient would provide sufficient incentive for procedure. participating observatories to offer a reasonable The proposed program would have at least amount of national access time on their one significant new advantage for the science facilities. that could be carried out: it would greatly Since each national access arrangement simplify and streamline programs of would carry administrative and other costs, coordinated or synoptic observations. Many there would be a threshold instrument cost such programs arise in OIR astronomy, from below which the benefits of national access are studies of time-variable phenomena and not sufficient to justify incurring these costs' periodicity searches, and in particular This threshold might be in the range of $0'5 M observations eoordinated with spaceborne to $1 M, depending on circumstances. A observatories (such as HST, ROSAT) for which flexible mechanism for determining this increased longitude coverage is often crucial. A threshold is suggested in the next subsection, national TAC could consider proposals for near- "Review of Proposals for Instrument simultaneous or sequential use of several large Development." telescopes that would otherwise be unlikely to be scheduled separately for a single program. 32

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A Strategyþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy This qualitatively new observing eapability as an ATI program item or a facility-class might also justifu modest NASA support for instrument. If the latter, the committee must such programs, or the instruments to carry them further decide whether the proposed instrument out, as suggested in Section VI. meets the cost threshold for national access, and whether the national access provisions are Review of Proposals for Instrument equitable, according to the principles described Development in "Guidelines for National Access" above. I The panel also recommends that proposals to NSF for grants for instrumentation VI.PROGRESS WITHIN A development (both facility instruments and CONSTRAINED BUDGET advanced technology instruments) should be selected on the basis ofan annual review by Overview an NSF jury committee. The panel believes that such a process, details of which are Here the panel summarizes its major described below, would be an effective recommendations and states priorities for NSF mechanism for optimizing the scientific benefits funding of OIR astronomy. In doing so, the of NSF funding of instrument development. panel is mindful of the uncertain prospects for The jury committee would review and seek to growth of the NSF astronomy budget. The coordinate instrumentation plans at NOAO, the panel is confident, however, that the enorrnous independent observatories, and the recent increase in the power of ground-based collaborations of outsiders with NOAO. OIR telescopes to enable major advances in our There are two major advantages to a jury understanding of the universe, together with review. First, it solves a problem raised by a major capital investment in new telescopes, both number of correspondents-namely, that they national and private, makes a strong case for a cannot make informed judgments when modest increase in the NSF astronomy budget' reviewing a proposal for instrumentation The panel recommends a strategy in which because they do not have a clear understanding NSF can, over the next several years, increase of the global context. A given program may be its annual funding of OIR astronomy by fine technically, but it is difficult to assess approximately $10 M in 1994 dollars' This whether it is the scientifically most valuable one increase is essential to properly support Gemini, relative to other alternatives. Second, and the instrumentation program for national and perhaps most important, a jury review provides private observatories, and the continuation ofa a powerful educational forum for all strong program at the existing NOAO facilities' participants, which could accelerate technology With this increment, NSF funds would be development and encourage cooperation where leveraged by the enormous nonfederal appropriate. Indeed, the jury committee should investment in OIR facilities in the past decade, search for economies of scale and opportunities allowing these new telescopes to reach their full to avoid duplication of effort, especially in scientific potential while providing access for instrument subsystems (e.g., controllers, ø// astronomers. detector anays). Perhaps the greatest benefit of If such a boost to the NSF's astronomy such a review committee would come not in the base budget is not possible, then first priority judgment of the proposals at hand, but in the must go to support of the Gemini operations' If guidance provided for future instrument no additional funding is added to the astronomy development. base budget, then the initiation of Gemini In addition to determining the scientific operations would have to come at the expense of merits of the proposed instruments, the jury other existing national OIR facilities, committee might be able to advise NSF whether particularly those that are the least unique. This a given instrument proposal should be regarded allocation of resources would cause many -tJ

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A Strategtþr Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy excellent astronomers to become KPNO would find that their access to telescopes disenfranchised, the field would suffer from the would be sharply curtailed and the competition loss oftheir expertise, and educational much more intense than it is now. An example opportunities for future generations would be of collateral damage under this scenario is that diminished. science education at universities would suffer Section IV above details recommendations because many professors would not be able to for a new strategy for the operation of NOAO, maintain and engage students in active research which the panel recommends regardless of the programs in OIR astronomy. Another major budget future. The general recommendations casualty would be the loss of the internship below are a restatement of many of these program for undergraduate and graduate guiding priorities. students. The panel's priorities for NOAO operations No-Growth Scenario are clear: If the NSF Division of Astronomical L Geminioperations, Sciences must operate under level funding, even 2. Continued operations at CTIO, with the completion of the Gemini telescopes, 3. Operations of WIYN, then there will be no alternative to a major 4. Continued operations of the 4-meter cutback of operations and closing or privatizing telescope at KPNO, of existing facilities. Gemini will be a leading 5. Other unique instrumentation development at scientific facility and is an international Tucson, and commitment that must be supported. 6. All otherNOAO operations. In this no-growth scenario, NOAO must absorb the full $8 M U.S. cost of the Gemini In a very limited budget, the panel recommends project (including both the $5.5 M for the U'S. cutting from the bottom of this list while share of IGP operations and the $2.5 M cost of preserving the functions above. (Instrument providing the resources for U.S. access to upgrades are implied in priorities 1 to 4.) Gemini). Uniform cutting of all services now provided by Given the unique access to the southern NOAO is specifically not an acceptable option. skies offered by CTIO, and the duplication of The panel estimates that even in the worst many of KPNO's capabilities in the independent budget situation, NOAO would have sufficient observatories in the Northern Hemisphere, funds for priorities I to 4. higher priority must be given to continued The panel appreciates that substantial operations at CTIO. At KPNO, the WIYN savings cannot be made simply by closing small telescope and limited operations of the 4-meter telescopes, as these facilities cost very little to telescope could continue, but probably all other operate. Only by closing or drastically scaling telescopes, as well as the bulk of the support back an entire observatory can one expect to operations in Tucson, would likely have to be save funds of the magnitude required in a closed. Whatever remained open at KPNO flat-budget scenario. The panel's priority is to would have to operate with a reduced support keep the unique facilities open if at all possible, staff, in a much less hand-holding mode of and to concentrate cutbacks on the downtown operation. The central services provided by Tucson operations, while at the same time NOAO to its three observatories, KPNO, CTiO, reducing the personnel at KPNO to a minimum and NSO, would effectively cease. level. Such cutbacks would come at a scientific NOAO would have to sharply restrict its price, such as the loss ofcapacity to instrumentation program. Moreover, it would immediately repair equipment that fails for one be impossible for NOAO to build anY reason or another. (Scheduling oflonger runs new-technology telescopes, even through and service observing can mitigate this loss, partnerships. Astronomers who depend on 34

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A Strategt for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy however.) In any case, it is better to have instrumentation program at the independent limited service than no service at all. The panel observatories outlined above. is further mindful that telescopes other than Although funding of IGP operations will those owned by NOAO operate on Kitt Peak and not rise to the stationary level until 2003, the also benefit from the infrastructure provided by panel recommends an immediate boost to the NOAO. The panel, under even the worst budget NSF astronomy base budget to allow scenario, does not recommend that KPNO be augmentation of the facilities instrumentation closed. program outlined above. This would give the Beyond stating these scientific priorities NSF time to judge the effectiveness of the for NOAO, the panel does not attempt to program and to make mid-course coffections, if provide a detailed road map or model for needed, wellbefore Gemini operations begin. NOAO to reduce operations costs as required. That is the proper responsibility of NOAO Modest Growth Scenario management. In a modest growth scenario, the panel With a truly flat budget, NSF would not be assumes that, by 2003, NSF will be able to able to provide new funds for facility augment its annualbudget for OIR astronomy instruments at independent observatories, but by $5.5 M to cover the U.S. obligation to the would need to initiate the new program at a IGP, so that NOAO funding can remain level in modest level within the existing budget of the constant dollars. Second, the panel assumes that NSF instrumentation grants program. The NSF will be able to augment its annual budget national access to independent observatories for facility instruments at independent enabled by this funding level would not begin to observatories by $4.5 Mlyear, beginning almost substitute for the loss of access at KPNO. immediately. Thus, the panel assumes that NSF Finally, in this scenario, the sharp will be able to increase its net annual funding of reductions in activity at KPNO and in the level OIR astronomy by approximately $10 M by of support of engineering and technical services, 2003. and the overall pressures on the NOAO budget, With such an increase, the nation would would be certain to have a negative impact on have a very healthy and productive support for the scientific activities of the infrastructure for OIR astronomy. The panel National Solar Observatories, believes that NOAO can ensure that the United States will gain full scientific value from the Minimal Growth Scenario Gemini telescopes and assert leadership in OIR If NSF can increase its annual funding for astronomy. To do so, NOAO must further focus OIR astronomy by part, but not all, of the $10 M its resources on Gemini science and other areas recommended, the panel envisages continuing where it can excel. As discussed above, even in fierce competition for resources between the this optimistic scenario NOAO cannot satisff all independent observatories, which need the diverse needs of the nation's astronomers, instrumentation funds, and NOAO, which must and competition for time on NOAO telescopes provide the U.S. interface to Gemini, support its may become even more intense. However, with observers, and strive to maintain scientific bold and frugal management, combined with leadership in some areas. How should NSF external partnerships, NOAO will be able to decide to distribute its limited funds in the face exert leadership in instrumentation and will of such competition? have a good chance to replace some of its older The first priority of any boost to the NSF telescopes with powerful, well-instrumented astronomy base budget must go to Gemini new-technology telescopes. operations, as discussed above. Any boost Great scientific leverage will result from beyond the amount payable to IGP operations the augmented program to fund facility would be available for the facility instruments for powerful new telescopes at 35

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A Strategt for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy independent observatories. Moreover, the Summary national access time provided to astronomers The panel has outlined above three possible through this program should mitigate the loss of futures for OIR astronomy in the coming observing options to astronomers who now decade. depend primarily on NOAO for access to telescopes. These astronomers would enjoy a ¡ In the most pessimistic scenario the panel net gain in observing time and options if this recommends that the above listed cutbacks program can be funded fullY. be applied to current NOAO operations in The strategy for growth recommended here order to fund the Gemini operations. is not lavish. The panel makes no recommendations for major new facilities that . The panel strongly recommends that the have not already been recommended by the NSF increase the base funding of the AASC report and, in fact, are already under Division of Astronomical Sciences in order way. The $5.5 M cost to support operations of to cover the $5.5 M U.S. contribution to the the IGP is modest given the $88 M capital international Gemini project operations investment by NSF. With level funding budget. (excluding the IGP operations costs), NOAO management will be challenged to take on the r In a modest growth scenario, the panel new responsibility of the U.S. interface to recommends a $10 Mlyear increase to the Gemini, to build new facilities, and to maintain astronomy base budget, which would scientific leadership. The only new program support both the Gemini operations and the recommended is the $4.8 M augmentation for new facilities instrumentation program for instrumentation at independent observatories. the independent observatories. That is conservative, too. The scientific opportunities presented by the new telescopes at Without a boost to the NSF astronomy base independent observatories could easily justif' a budget, the initiation of Gemini operations will much greater investment bY NSF. force the closure of productive NOAO facilities now in operation. This would be a great shame Support of Space Astronomy Missions and a waste of productive facilities and talent' The national time allocation committee that The loss of national access to telescopes would the panel recommends would enable also be harmful to U.S. higher education in astronomers to carry out, often for the first time, science. Given the huge investment in space- powerful coordinated and synoptic observing based facilities by NASA and the investment by campaigns in support of space observations' nonfederal sources in other ground-based Such programs are likely to spawn demand for telescopes, the recommended $10 M/year of new instruments (e,g., common, if not similar, additional NSF support for OIR astronomy is a imagers or polarimeters) on several telescopes very modest amount of money. Yet without it so that data can be optimally matched. To neither the NASA investment in space facilities, realizethese benefits, the panel recommends nor NSF's investment in Gemini, nor the that NSF continue to work with NASA to investment of the private observatories in their develop a coordinated strategy for support of new facilities will reach their full scientific space astronomy missions by ground-based ÛIR potentiai. telescopes. It would be appropriate for NASA to support a share of costs for instrument support and observer access in proportion to the annual national use oftelescopes (national or private) in support of space observations. 36

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Tha National Academy Press was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports issued by the Academí and by the Naäonal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Meilicine, and the National Reseaich Counci!, all operating under the charter granted to the National Academy o'f S.i..tõ.s by the Congress óf tne United States'