||CTIO: The Next 50 Years
||491, Fifty Years of Wide Field Studies in the Southern Hemisphere: Resolved Stellar Populations in the Galactic Bulge and the Magellanic Clouds
||Smith, R. C.
||After 50 years of solid scientific productivity, CTIO has established a
strong reputation as a world-leading international observatory. The next
50 years are filled with opportunities to build on this foundation, continuing
to put CTIO at the forefront of astronomy. In the near term (the next 10
years) we will be taking advantage of the power of the Dark Energy Camera
(DECam) to map the southern skies, both as part of Dark Energy Survey (DES)
and as part of a wide variety of community projects spanning scientific
areas from near-earth asteroids to the most distant gravitationally-lensed
galaxies. In addition, we will add new spectroscopic capabilities, both in
the optical, with COSMOS, and the near-infrared, with TripleSpec. With the
combination of these new facilities with those coming to SOAR, including SAM,
SIFS, and STELES, CTIO will provide a highly-efficient suite of capabilities
to support astronomers for this decade.
And of course we will be preparing for the next decade, which will be the
decade of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). CTIO continues to
play a central role in supporting the development of LSST during its
construction on Cerro Pachón over the next 5 years. However, even more
important will be the role CTIO facilities will play in the science of the
LSST era. While astronomers will certainly be able to do many new and
innovative projects with only the LSST database, a significant fraction of
the scientific potential of LSST relies upon optical and infrared followup.
The telescopes and instruments of CTIO, from the tenant 1m telescopes to the
instruments on the Blanco and SOAR, will be a critical part of the newly
rebalanced observing "system". Given that cutting-edge instrumentation can
take 5-10 years to move from conception to first light, today is not too
early to decide which new instruments we must start developing now in order
to fulfill the needs of the community in the next decade.