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The New York State Telescope Project

The New York Astronomical Corporation (NYAC) was chartered in 1968 with the goal of providing access to a telescope to the astronomical community of New York. At the October 2008 business meeting, the NYAC board reaffirmed their desire to pursue a world-class telescope project. The telescope will provide access to the entire NY astronomical community, enable front-line research, excite and train the next generation of students in the STEM disciplines, and stimulate public interest in science.

Progress Updates

In Oct 2008 the NYAC board of directors re-energized the effort to obtain a telescope for the NY State Astronomical Community. The goal of the telescope is to enable front line research for faculty, postdocs, and PhD students, excite and train the next generation of students in the STEM disciplines, and stimulate public interest in science. In Jan 2009 a Call for Participation in the effort was issued by the board. In April 2009 at the ASNY meeting held at RIT, a kickoff meeting was held and discussions on the process were started. Email discussion continued through the summer of 2009. At the Oct 2009 meeting at Union College, a Telescope Committee was formed consisting of Stefi Baum (RIT, Chair), Steve Lawrence (Hofstra), and Dan Watson (U of R). Jamie Lloyd (Cornell) joined later.

In January 2010 the Telescope Committee released a survey to the NY astronomical community to determine science drivers and desired telescope properties. At the April 2010 meeting at Colgate, Stefi Baum reported on the results of the survey (posted to the NYAC web page). The survey results indicate that the community favors a large general purpose optical/near-IR telescope which will support a broad range of science and enable front-line research by faculty, post-docs, and students. The Telescope Committee also drafted a Call for White papers which was approved by the board of directors on August 3, 2010 (posted to the NYAC web page). The Call specified that letters of intent were due Oct 1, 2010 and 10-page papers were due Jan 10, 2011. Three letters of intent were received. At the Oct 22 telescope session at RPI the desired properties of a committee to review the white papers was discussed. It was decided that the committee should have broad representation and expertise and should avoid conflicts of interest. The following template for the committee was established: 2 members from Associate Members, 2 from PhD granting universities, 1 from NY industry, 1 with NY State government experience (e.g., former politician, lobbyist, college development office), 1 external (to NY) science pundit, 1 external telescope/instrument pundit. A call for nominations to the committee was issued and Chris O’Dea then assembled a committee whose membership was approved by the NYAC Board. Carl Hayden agreed to chair the committee. Guidelines for the review process were established (posted below). Three proposals were received as expected on Jan 10, 2011 and are posted below. The telescope review committee (see below for membership) reviewed the three proposals and submitted a report to the NYAC board of directors on June 6, 2011.The report of the telescope proposal review committee was accepted by the NYAC board of directors on 7/27/11 by a vote of 12 in favor, 4 abstentions, with 2 not voting.


Kickoff Meeting April 2009

Chris O'Dea Presentation [pptx]
Minutes [pdf]

Meeting October 2009

Peter Wehinger's Presentation [ppt]

Additional Documents

Survey Results [pdf]
Call for White Papers [pdf]

Meeting October 2010

Chris O'Dea Update [pdf]
Letter of Intent Presentations

Minutes of the NY State Telescope Discussion [txt]

Telescope Proposals

ALPACA [pdf]
ATNY [pdf]
Gemini [pdf]

Review Committee

Fred Chromey (Vassar)                                                                                                                                            
Rose Finn (Siena)                                                                                                                                                    
James Graham (Director, Dunlop Institute, Univ. of Toronto) 
Carl Hayden (Chair, SUNY Board of Trustees) Chair 
Rob Kennicutt (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge Univ.)                                                                             
Frank Suits (IBM, Thomas J. Watson Research Center) 
Yervant Terzian (Cornell, Director, NY Space Grant) 
Jim Zavislan (U of Rochester)

Guidelines for Review Committee [pdf]

Report of the Review Committee [pdf]

Meeting October 2011

Minutes [pdf]

Additional Documents 2012

One page description of the New York State Observatory [pdf]
Presentation on the New York State Observatory [pdf]