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NOAO Newsletter - KPNO Operations - June 2000 - Number 62


Report of the WIYN Review Committee

Overview

The WIYN Consortium has requested an evaluation of the effectiveness of its investment in the WIYN Observatory in advancing its goals for support of astronomical research and education.

The review committee finds that in the five years since first light the WIYN Observatory has become a productive forefront astronomical facility. The value of a 3.5 meter facility will not be diminished as the Gemini and other larger telescopes come on line.

The Committee was pleased to find that the WIYN Observatory and the WIYN Consortium are producing forefront scientific results, and that the collaboration is working well.

Particular highlights include:

These aspects position WIYN to make significant contributions in the future. To ensure that opportunity, a number of challenges must be confronted, among which are:


Recommendations checklist

Hardware

All possible resources and manpower should be directed to the improvement of the throughput of the Bench Spectrograph. This is our strongest recommendation.

The WIYN imager and Mini-Mosaic should be outfitted with modern, high-speed controllers as soon as possible. This recommendation is second in priority only to the Bench throughput improvements.


Management

The committee recommends that the WIYN Observatory expand its scientific staff. Research Fellows or postdocs would increase WIYN's high impact science in a few fields.

We recommend pursuing the search for a Director. The Search committee should not neglect operational qualifications in this quest.


Operations

The committee recommends study of the ARC Consortium operations in remote observing.

NOAO should review from a strategic standpoint the decision to cease operation of queue observing.


Instrument development

We recommend that universities offer teaching buyout to help with instrument development.

In the long term, the "soft" ledger imbalance needs attention. [The "soft ledger" is the record of partner contributions that exceed their obligation to the base budget.]


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