Research Challenge

Your Challenge

Evaluate each of the three candidate observatory sites given below, and select the best site for a Giant Segmented Telescope:

You will examine and rate each site in a number of categories including seeing, light pollution, and logistics, and then use a Problem-solving Matrix to select the best site for each of the above cases. (The best site for each case may not be the same site!) A checklist for each site and a description of the problem-solving matrix can be found through the Evaluation Criteria link.

The links below lead to an information page specific to each candidate site. Additional information relevant to the selection process as well suggestions about how to rate site in the different categories are found in the links for Geography, Weather, etc.

Candidate Observatory Sites

These links take you to pages with information and additional links for each site:

Evaluation Sheets

The following data sheets are provided to help you keep track of your investigation.

  1. If your team is evaluating all aspects of one or more sites, download this set of data sheets.

  2. If your team is evaluating only one aspect of all the sites and then combining your results later, download this set of data sheets.

Going Farther

Now that you have selected one of the three best observatory sites in the world as judged by 21st Century science, use your new expertise to evaluate one of the best observatory sites in the world as seen by 19th Century science: Yerkes Observatory. Established in 1897 by the University of Chicago, was one of the leading astronomical establishments of its time—the “Birthplace of Astrophysics.” How does this site compare with the best sites of today?

Here is an information page for Yerkes with information similar to that given for the sites your have already considered. Use the same techniques and criteria for evaluation as for the other sites.

Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, WI

And here is the data sheet for Yerkes.