Funding of the Essential Synergy Between Small and Large Telescopes

  • Wm. Bruce Weaver
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 287/8/9)


Since the 1956 Flower and Cook Symposium on the future of moderate-sized telescopes, such telescopes have contributed a substantial fraction of the important scientific results in astronomy. In addition, some of the significant science and discoveries produced by astronomers at large telescopes could have been made at smaller instruments at that time. When considered on a per dollar basis, the scientific productivity of smaller telescopes dominates the field Some small telescope myths, such as “small telescopes are best dedicated to large survey projects” are examined If “goodness” of science is defined in any terms other than its cost, smaller telescopes easily hold their own. Astronomy has a history of an essential synergy between small and large telescopes. This synergy can be maintained only if there are a reasonable number of well-maintained, well-instrumented smaller-sized telescopes. Recommendations for a small telescope budget and a refurbishment of the Schmidt telescopes at the national observatories are made. Two percent of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee decadal budget would provide well-instrumented facilities to the same number of astronomers who use the existing or approved large ground-based optical and infrared telescopes and add 50% to the amount of quality astronomy produced.

research productivity small telescopes large telescopes decadal survey 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wm. Bruce Weaver
    • 1
  1. 1.Monterey Institute for Research in AstronomyMarinaUSA

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