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NOAO Newsletter - National Solar Observatory - June 2000 - Number 62


The NSO Initial Response to the NRC 2000 Decadal Survey

Steve Keil

The staff of the National Solar Observatory is pleased that the NRC Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee has placed an emphasis on the need to develop new high-resolution capabilities in solar physics and has given high priority to the development of a large-aperture, Advanced Solar Telescope (AST). We will work closely with the solar community to bring such a telescope on line and make it available to solar astronomers over the next several years. Current NSO programs in adaptive optics and infrared technologies are helping to provide the critical technologies needed to enable the next generation solar telescope. We agree that the "AST will observe solar plasma processes and magnetic fields with unprecedented resolution in space and time, providing a unique opportunity to probe cosmic magnetic fields and test theories of their generation, structure and dynamics." AST development will involve strong community and international participation, beginning with a design and development phase in FY 2001. NSO is committed to the development of the AST and to the operation of SOLIS and GONG as cornerstones of the US ground-based program in solar physics. NSO is also committed to its cooperative work with other specific solar programs and agencies including RISE/PSPT, the Advanced Stokes Polarimeter, synoptic observing programs, SOLAR-C, and to supporting solar space missions. The staff of NSO is working to address many other recommendations of the decadal survey, including an expansion of the SOLIS instruments to additional international sites, the development of a comprehensive and powerful data handling system for solar data, and closer cooperation with universities and other solar observatories.


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