NOAO Currents NOAO Currents NOAO AURA NSF

February 2012  •  Issue 21

 

Currents

In this Issue…

Input to the NSF/AST Portfolio Review Now Posted: Several groups and individuals provided NOAO-related input to the Portfolio Review during the community comment period. Submitted materials are now available at our website. Comments on the posted materials are welcome both through an open forum at our website and confidentially by writing to currents@noao.edu.

If you submitted NOAO-related material to the Portfolio Review and would like to make your material accessible to the community through our website, please let us know.

The posted material currently includes:

  • White paper by NOAO Director David Silva on how NOAO facilities address the science frontiers of the 2010 Decadal Survey
  • Summary of community input received through an NOAO online forum
  • Findings and recommendations from the System Roadmap Committee based, in part, on their recent community survey
  • Community-based white paper describing the opportunities for community science with BigBOSS on the Mayall telescope.

This article provides a brief summary of the current postings.

· • ·

Input to the NSF/AST Portfolio Review

Many groups and individuals provided NOAO-related input to the NSF/AST Portfolio Review during the community comment period, which ended on 31 January. The Portfolio Review Committee has been asked to recommend to NSF/AST how its support for existing facilities, programs, and activities should be balanced against community aspirations for future facilities given the budget limitations.

Submitted materials are now available at our website. These include:

The US OIR National Observatory beyond 2015, a white paper submitted by NOAO Director David Silva. The white paper describes the Director’s vision for NOAO and how that vision addresses the science frontiers described in the 2010 Decadal Survey, “New Worlds, New Horizons” (NWNH).

Input to the NSF/AST Portfolio Review from an NOAO Community Forum, a white paper summarizing the input received at our website for open community discussion regarding the budget. Contributors to the online forum found NOAO facilities highly relevant to the science of he coming decade, with their excellent cost-efficiency making them an attractive way to deliver needed capabilities within the budgetary constraints. The community also strongly endorsed the NSF goal of enabling broad participation, which is described as critical in driving scientific discovery. Changes to the NSF portfolio that reduce broad participation are seen as highly detrimental to the health of the astronomical profession.

Sustaining Progress Toward the Decadal Survey Science Priorities Over the Next Decade, a white paper by the Ground-based OIR System Roadmap Committee, based in part on the results of their recent community survey. As the survey results demonstrate that the ground-based OIR community is already actively engaged in NWNH science using existing facilities, the white paper calls for optimizing “the science return from continued investment in ground-based O/IR observing capabilities by retaining the diversity of capabilities of core facilities” currently in use. The needed system of resources includes both federal and non-federal facilities and telescopes spanning a range of apertures.

Addressing Decadal Survey Science through Community Access to Highly Multiplexed Spectroscopy with BigBOSS on the KPNO Mayall Telescope, a white paper by a community-based group, that emerged in part from the September 2011 BigBOSS Community Workshop. The white paper describes the opportunities for community science with BigBOSS on the Mayall and illustrates how open community access will extend the scientific impact of BigBOSS to many pressing science goals identified by NWNH. It urges the Portfolio Review to support open access to BigBOSS through continued NSF/AST support of the Mayall.

If you submitted NOAO-related material to the Portfolio Review and would like to make your material accessible to the community through our website, please let us know.

We also welcome your feedback on the posted materials! Comments are welcome both through an open forum at our website and confidentially by writing to currents@noao.edu.

· • ·

Contact Us

Did something interesting, inspiring, or surprising happen on a recent observing run? Please tell us about it! Is there a topic that you would like to see covered in a future Currents? If you are planning a regional astronomy meeting or department internal symposium, would you like someone from NOAO to give a presentation on our new program? Please contact us at currents@noao.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!


In this Issue

Currents is a spark plug for communication between NOAO and our community. It provides updates—and solicits community input—on NOAO observing opportunities and NOAO programs and policies on a more rapid timescale than is possible with the NOAO Newsletter.

NOAO is the national center for ground-based nighttime astronomy in the United States and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

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