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Session 33 - Amateurs & Professionals: Collaborators in the New Age of Electronic Astronomy - II.
Oral session, Tuesday, June 10
North Main Hall C/D,

[33.10] Preserving the Future of Small Observatories

T. D. Oswalt (Fla. Tech.)

The diminishing availability of small (1-2m) telescopes at national facilities throughout the world requires that new models for operating such facilities must be developed if they are to be preserved for the next generation of astronomers. Their users, typically students and faculty at small universities, must achieve an equitable voice in decisions affecting those facilities which support their education and research. In exchange, they must assume a larger role in the facilities' operation, management and funding.

Preliminary discussions at the 1996 Lowell workshop and the 1997 Toronto AAS meeting indicated that there is broad interest in not only preserving but increasing the science done by small observatories. Drawing upon the experiences of several existing organizations, here we discuss the merits of: forming small consortia to pool the necessary resources to acquire and operate facilities; (2) creating informal networks of consortia and/or individual institutions; (3) establishing modest travel support programs for students and isolated faculty to facilitate their participation in existing internship programs and projects; and (4) creating avenues by which disadvantaged astronomers can make their needs and capabilties known to prospective collaborators and policy- making bodies.

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