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Paper: The Turn of the Millennium, CTIO and AURA-O, 1993-2007
Volume: 491, Fifty Years of Wide Field Studies in the Southern Hemisphere: Resolved Stellar Populations in the Galactic Bulge and the Magellanic Clouds
Page: 39
Authors: Smith, M. G.
Abstract: The decade 1993-2003 was a particularly exciting time to be at Cerro Tololo - for most staff members. Tough times at the beginning involved significant staff reductions - the worst moment of my professional career. In return, the observatory was granted a period of stability in which it was possible to rebuild morale, which in turn helped the research climate to recover rapidly. Emphasis was given to improving the image quality at the Blanco 4m (led by Jack Baldwin), while quietly supporting efficient operation of the smaller telescopes (led locally by Alistair Walker) via the development of the SMARTs consortium. In 1998 came the high point - the announcement of the discovery of Dark Energy that showed us all how much we still have to learn about the universe; this work depended crucially on the work of staff members at CTIO and staff and students from Chilean and Argentinian universities (as described elsewhere at this conference). The Inter-American nature of CTIO also laid the crucial groundwork (in which Joao Steiner was a key player) for Brazil's involvement in SOAR and Gemini. Work during the period to minimize the advance of light pollution over Cerro Tololo (and the rest of northern Chile) helped create a credible case for siting the LSST on Cerro Pachón.
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