The Great Basin Observatory is a cooperative effort with Great Basin National Park, the Great Basin National Park Foundation, and four partner universities: University of Nevada, Reno; Western Nevada College in Carson City; Southern Utah University in Cedar City; and Concordia University in Irvine, CA. The Great Basin Observatory (GBO) is a research and educational facility serving students, research teams, and science departments of smaller colleges and universities. Academic departments which cannot offer astronomy degrees because of a lack of research facilities will be able to utilize the GBO to add new educational opportunities for their students.
The GBO has three primary goals:
1) conduct astronomical research
2) educate students at all levels
3) preserve the natural dark night skies.
One significant aspect of this observatory is the researchers will not have to be physically present in order to use the telescope and obtain data. The researcher will submit a target plan and our software will automatically, and autonomously, schedule and acquire the data at the appropriate time. After the target data are acquired, the operations group will simply email researchers their data image files. The operations group will have network access and full control of operations of the observatory from any laptop or desktop computer without special software needs.
Image courtesy of Great Basin National Park, National Park Service
Great Basin National Park lies within one of the last remaining dark-sky regions of the contiguous United States. The exceptional quality and darkness of the Park’s skies and remote access implementation of the GBO mean that researchers worldwide can obtain significant observations and data with moderate size facilities. As the first astronomical observatory in a national park, the GBO will help raise public awareness that dark night skies are a fast disappearing natural resource worthy of preservation.