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Session 42 - Ground-Based Optical Telescopes & Instruments.
Display session, Tuesday, January 14
Metropolitan Ballroom,

[42.04] North American Small Telescope Cooperative: The View from 1996

H. L. Preston (Valdosta State U.)

NASTeC has a new sponsoring organization, SARA (Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy), a new URL ( hpreston/sara/nastec.html), and a new coordinator (Preston), but its original mission is more urgent than ever, as the precious astronomical resource represented by the small-to-intermediate-sized telescopes (SITs) is threatened by disuse or low fiscal priority for repair in institutional/ departmental budgets. Even as the SIT resource is dwindling for lack of support at high levels, the possibilities for meaningful research collaborations via the Internet (or successor) are greater than ever.

The original purpose of NASTeC was to bring to the attention of the general astronomical community the distribution and availability of SITs and associated instrumentation through a voluntary information listing. NASTeC hopes to eventually help facilitate a worldwide exchange of small telescope information and observations, and to encourage and actively foster research collaborations, both in North America and globally. At present, we provide a listing of small telescope observatories, available instrumentation, and points of contact for the member institutions. In the near future, we will support some form of communications clearinghouse for up-to-date information exchange. The existence of the listing has many benefits (enumerated in main text) in research as well as in education and community outreach, and the solutions that are found valuable to one set of NASTeC members in dealing with SIT problems, instrument and computer upgrades, etc. may also be of benefit to other member institutions. Member input on the fomat of the communications clearinghouse is invited.

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