From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Fri Apr 25 2003 - 04:49:36 PDT
----- Original Message -----
From: Ron Baalke - Near Earth Object Program
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2003 6:23 PM
Subject: New Corporation Organized To Develop Ambitious Survey Telescope
NEW CORPORATION ORGANIZED TO DEVELOP AMBITIOUS SURVEY TELESCOPE
(Media contacts listed below)
April 24, 2003
Four major research organizations have joined forces to build
a world-class telescope that will survey the entire sky in a relentless
search for supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, near-Earth asteroids and the
mysterious energy of expansion in the Universe known as dark energy.
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Corporation Inc. has been formed
by Research Corporation, the Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy (AURA) Inc., the University of Arizona (UA), and the University of
Washington, for the purpose of designing and constructed this challenging
new telescope. The corporation held its first meeting on April 16.
UA Contact Information
Peter A. Strittmatter
J. Roger P, Angel
Philip A. Pinto
The LSST will use an 8-meter primary mirror and a two billion-pixel digital
camera to scan the complete visible night sky every week to a deep
magnitude. Its steady flood of image will be supported by a robust computer
data pipeline, designed from the start to make the LSST's daily output of
five terabytes readily accessible by astronomers from all over the world.
The telescope will be capable of discovering 100,000 supernovae per year and
10,000 or more Trans-Neptunian objects at the extreme edge of the solar
system. It will also survey virtually all stars within the nearest 100
light-years for evidence of planets around them by precisely measuring their
astrometric motion on the sky.
The LSST was one of the two highest priorities for future ground-based
telescope facilities in the most recent Decadal Survey of astronomy
conducted by the National Academy of Sciences. "LSST will open a new
frontier in addressing time variable phenomena in astronomy," according to
the May 2000 academy report 'Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New
The immediate goal of the LSST Corporation is to prepare a detailed design
for consideration by funding organizations and foundations, toward telescope
first light as early as 2011. No site has yet been selected for the
"The LSST is the next big leap in charting the heavens, and an exciting
technological challenge," said Research Corporation President John Schaefer,
who was elected chair of the LSST Corporation board at its first meeting.
"It provides Research Corporation an opportunity to fulfill an important
role as a catalyst in enabling leading-edge science to take place."
"The LSST Corporation is a landmark public-private partnership," said Jeremy
Mould, director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in
Tucson, which represents AURA in the new organization. "The formal existence
of this corporation is a concrete step in the construction of this powerful
telescope, and a symbol of how most large astronomical facilities will be
built in the future."
"With the establishment of the LSST Corporation, we can begin to implement
this very innovative and powerful telescope concept, originally proposed by
Roger Angel," said Peter Strittmatter, director of the Steward Observatory.
"The LSST presents not only unique opportunities for astronomical science,
but major challenges for optics fabrication and alignment. We look forward
to playing our part in meeting these challenges."
"The University of Washington is drawing upon its strong heritage in
time-domain and survey astronomy to help address the survey's formidable
data processing challenges," said Christopher Stubbs, a UW astronomy and
physics professor who serves on the LSST board. "In addition, the UW's
experience with building wide-field astronomical camera systems will be
beneficial in developing needed instrumentation."
For further information on the LSST, seehttp://www.lsst.org
NOAO operates Kitt Peak National Observatory southwest of Tucson and the
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory near La Serena, Chile. NOAO is also
the gateway for U.S. astronomers to use the international Gemini telescopes
via the NOAO Gemini Science Center. NOAO is operated by AURA under a
cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
A foundation for the advancement of science, Research Corporation was
established in 1912 by scientist, inventor, and philanthropist Frederick
Gardner Cottrell. It provides an average of $6 million per year in support
of faculty in chemistry, physics and astronomy at colleges and universities
in the U.S. and Canada. Research Corporation's long-standing support of
astronomy includes partnerships in the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and
in operating the 12-meter radio telescope at Kitt Peak.
UA is a state institution of higher education in Arizona. UA includes, among
its research units, the Steward Observatory (SO), which operates observatory
facilities on Kitt Peak, Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Hopkins, and Mt. Graham for the
benefit of faculty and students at the Arizona state universities. It is
also a partner in the LBT, the Magellan Project, and the Multiple Mirror
Telescope Observatory, and it operates the Mirror Lab on the UA campus.
The University of Washington is the nation's premier public university in
sponsored research, and plays a leading role in the Sloan Digital Sky
* Douglas Isbell, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 520/318-8214,
* Carmen Vitella, Research Corporation, 520/571-1111, awards_at_rescorp.org
* Lori Stiles, University of Arizona News Services, 520/621-1877,
* Vince Stricherz, University of Washington News and Information Office,
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