Skip to main content

A Strategy for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy

View Cover




Astronomy occupies a special place in the research portfolio of this country. Understanding the cosmos is one of the oldest intellectual goals of humanity, and the discoveries of astronomers clearly excite the imagination of the public at large. From primary schools to universities, from planetaria to features in the media, astronomy offers numerous opportunities to improve the scientific literacy of this nation, and astronomers are increasingly engaged in these educational activities. Although for many people astronomy is a clear example of one of the noblest of basic research activities, it is often less recognized that it can and does contribute to other national goals. In particular, its research activities depend on and contribute to the applied development of sophisticated sensors, an essential enabling technology for many scientific fields and for the defense, medical, and commercial sectors, modern astronomical facilities, and their sophisticated instrumentation, utilizing state-of- the-art detectors, computing resources, and optical design, are expensive.

Astronomers are fortunate that the Congress has authorized the construction of numerous major national facilities. National ground-based astronomical facilities are supported primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), both in the construction and operations phases. Still, roughly half of U.S. astronomers must rely entirely on the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) for access to telescopes, and nearly all rely on NOAO facilities for some aspects of their work. In this eventuality, the panel recommends that the proper instrumentation and operation of the Gemini telescopes should have first priority. The panel also affirms the high priority for the ATI program, which was recommended by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (AASC) report.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1995. A Strategy for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Import this citation to:

Publication Info

53 pages | 6 x 9

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-xii
Report 1-41

Copyright Information

The National Academies Press and the Transportation Research Board have partnered with Copyright Clearance Center to offer a variety of options for reusing our content. You may request permission to:

  • Republish or display in another publication, presentation, or other media
  • Use in print or electronic course materials and dissertations
  • Share electronically via secure intranet or extranet
  • And more

For most Academic and Educational uses no royalties will be charged although you are required to obtain a license and comply with the license terms and conditions.

Click here to obtain permission for A Strategy for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy.

Translation and Other Rights

For information on how to request permission to translate our work and for any other rights related query please click here. Customer Service

For questions about using the service, please contact:

Copyright Clearance Center
22 Rosewood Drive
Danvers, MA 01923
Tel (toll free): 855/239-3415 (select option 1)

Loading stats for A Strategy for Ground-Based Optical and Infrared Astronomy...