Thomas G. Barnes III
McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas at Austin
This paper addresses the role of small telescopes at McDonald Observatory. Given availability of 9.2-m , 2.7-m and 2.1-m telescopes at McDonald, demand for our 91-cm and 76-cm telescopes had declined. In addition, the decision to devote our reduced resources to the larger telescopes affected the role of the smaller ones.
The implications seemed clear to us: only do science on the smaller telescopes which is not possible on the larger telescopes and minimize the demand for resources from the smaller telescopes.
The 91-cm telescope has accordingly been restricted to photoelectric photometry on programs which involve coordinated observing with other McDonald telescopes, simultaneous observing with satellites or other observatories, multiple-week observing runs and target of opportunity programs.
The 76-cm telescope has been dedicated to a prime focus CCD camera. This f/3 camera has a field of view 46.5 arcminutes square and an R limit (3 sigma) of 22 mag. With autoguiding from an auxiliary telescope and a servo-controlled focus, the telescope is ideal for wide field imaging, synoptic and survey programs, and solar system astrometry.