Observational Facilities

Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT)

Stony Brook University is part of the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) Collaboration. ACT is a six-metre telescope on Cerro Toco in the Atacama Desert in the north of Chile. It is designed to make high-resolution, millimeter-wavelength surveys of the sky in order to study the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). The main goals of this project are to measure the parameters that describe the early Universe and to map out the cosmic growth of structure.
The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), a CMB telescope in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will image half the night sky every three days and see objects that are 400-million times fainter than those we can see with the naked eye. This endeavor will generate about 30 terabytes of data per night. This instrument will become operational in 2020, and it will revolutionize all fields of astronomy.

Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) has been a partner institution in LSST for almost a decade, and has a major role in the development of the LSST camera. Several faculty at Stony Brook are members of the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, and actively partner with LSST scientists at BNL to lay the theoretical, computational, and instrumental groundwork to enable the LSST science goals.

BNL Scientist Morgan May (left) and SBU Astronomer Fred Walter (right) at an LSST meeting

SMARTS telescopes

Stony Brook University is one of the founding members of the SMARTS consortium. The SMARTS consortium was organized to keep open and operating the small telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory. The prime source of information about SMARTS is the main SMARTS web page at Yale university.

SMARTS telescopes
the SMARTS telescopes

Mount Stony Brook

The Mount Stony Brook Observatory consists of a new computerized Meade 14 inch LX200-ACF telescope permanently mounted in a dome on the roof of our building. We have 2 CCD cameras (+ filter wheel) and a spectrograph that can be used with it, as well as an assortment of eyepieces. The telescope is currently used for graduate and undergraduate classes and labs and during our Astronomy Open Nights. Additionally, a large number of smaller 8" telescopes are also available for use.

The roof of the ESS building is designed for moderate sized crowds (~50 people), and students in the introductory undergraduate astronomy courses are frequently invited up for viewing.

Mt. Stony Brook Meade
the 14" telescope

Ground-Based Observatories

Stony Brook astronomers make regular use of the wide array of instrumentation available to contemporary astronomy. Stony Brook faculty and graduate students are frequent users of the facilities of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories such as the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, the National Radio Astronomy Observatories, the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI), the Gemini, Keck, the CHARA Array, IRAM observatories, the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter Astronomy (CARMA), the Nobeyama 45m telescope, and the Subaru telescope.

Space Missions

Stony Brook faculty have been principal investigators on programs using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory, Herschel telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Faculty and students routinely use archival data from these and other NASA missions in the course of their research. Graduate students routinely participate in analysis of data obtained from these and other missions, and use these data in the PhD theses.

Computing Facilities

Local Computing Facilities

The department maintains computing facilities, consisting of UNIX workstations and Linux PCs, for support of data analysis and theoretical work. Profs. Swesty and Zingale have small beowulf clusters for research. In addition the University has a 470 processor cluster, Seawulf available for graduate student use. Stony Brook also is part of the New York Center for Computational Science and together with Brookhaven National Lab run a large IBM Blue Gene/L machine (> 36,000 processors), New York Blue.

More details can be found on the Astronomy Group Local Computing page

WOPR cluster
the WOPR beowulf cluster

National Supercomputing Centers

Stony Brook researchers have large allocations of supercomputer time (10s of million of CPU-hours per year) at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (through the INCITE program), and the NCSA Blue Waters machine through NSF. These computers are used mainly for simulations of supernovae (Type Ia and II), X-ray bursts, and other stellar explosions.