New Facilities Available for Astronomers

On November 4, 2014, Prof. Buell T. Jannuzi from the University of Arizona (UA) visited NAOC and gave a lecture about facilities affiliated with UA that are currently available or will soon be completed.

He started the lecture by introducing the history of Steward Observatory, which opened in 1916 and was the first astronomical observatory built by UA. He continued by describing the geographic advantages that Arizona enjoys in terms of dark skies and clear, dry weather. He then showed the sky coverage of a number of deep surveys that have been conducted recently, highlighting the large number of galaxies and quasars that can be identified in even a small patch of sky. Prof. Jannuzi also displayed photos of the UA Mirror Lab and described its history. This lab manufactures mirrors for the largest telescopes in the world. He then summarized progress related to several large facilities that are currently being constructed, including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), by exhibiting photos of these projects and describing how the astronomical community will benefit from such efforts. For example, the LSST will be able to survey supernovae at an unprecedented rate and locate large numbers of asteroids. Other applications of these facilities will be to search for and study properties of exoplanets. Prof. Jannuzi ended his talk by showing an animation of how the JWST will be launched and will configure itself in space.

The worldwide astronomical community is eagerly awaiting these new facilities to become operational and contribute to many fields of study.