SMARTS: Small and Medium Aperture Research Telescope System

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 SMARTS consortium is an outgrowth of the YALO consortium (Yale, AURA, Lisbon, Ohio State), which operated the Yale 1.0m telescope. With the departure of the University of Lisbon from this consortium, and the announcement that NOAO would no longer operate the other small (< 2.0m) telescopes, Charles Bailyn, PI of the YALO consortium, approached the community with the idea of forming a larger consortium to maintain the small telescope capabilities. The consortium came together at a meeting at the American Museum of Natural History in October 2001. The product of that meeting was a committment on the part of the consortium members to write a proposal to the NSF.

SMARTS Consortium Partners
American Museum of Natural History
University of Delaware
Georgia State University
Ohio State University
Space Telescope Science Institute
Stony Brook University
Vanderbilt University/Fisk Observatory
Yale University

The proposal to the NSF and the reply to the referee can be found here. The proposal, as revised, was accepted, with the second and third year of operations to be awarded based on the success of the first year's effort. The announcement of the acceptance of the proposal can be found here.

Observing time is divided among the consortium partners in proportion to their contribution (monetary, instrumentation, or infrastructure support). AURA receives about 30% of the observing time, and Chilean astronomers are guaranteed 10%. NOAO time is available to the community through the standard proposal process.

Facilities and Instrumentation

A small picture gallery of the Cerro Tololo mountaintop and its locale is available here.

The instrumentation available for the 2004A semester is summarized below.

  • 0.9m + 2K CCD (user): as in previous semesters, user runs should be seven nights long. HOWEVER, once the 1m comes on line, we will likely add another observing tech to the team, so that there will be one OT on the mountain for the 0.9 and 1.0m at all times. At that point it will be possible to schedule user runs more flexibly. User runs should indicate whether the observer is willing to carry out up to one hour of observations for other projects during the night.
  • 0.9m + 2K CCD (service): Service runs cannot be more than 7 nights in duration (that's how long the observer is on the mountain). HOWEVER, once the 1m comes on line, we will likely add another observing tech to the team, so that there will be one OT on the mountain for the 0.9m and 1.0m at all times. In that point it will be possible to schedule service runs more flexibly. Service observing is allocated either for the full night, or for less than 1 hr/night (if the primary program allows). Monitoring programs should be requested on the 1.3m + ANDICAM unless there are strong scientific reasons (e.g. the wider field) that the 0.9m is preferable.
  • 1.0m + 4K CCD (user): SHARED RISK OBSERVING!! We do not know when this instrument will be available - current target date is April, but the time allocation assumes May 1, to be on the safe side. Unless the increased field-of-view on the 1m (20' vs 13' on a side) is crucial for the project, we recommend that high priority projects be proposed for the 0.9m. Length of run is flexible, since we expect to have an OT on the mountain shared between the 0.9m and 1.0m.
  • 1.0m + 4K CCD (service): SHARED RISK OBSERVING! (see above). Rules for 1.0m service are the same as for the 0.9m, except that the length of a run will be flexible.
  • 1.3m + ANDICAM (service ONLY): This telescope/instrument combination is primarily intended for monitoring and targets of opportunity. Proposers should specify hours/night (maximum of 3 per program!) and number of nights. Assume that each full night is 8.5 hrs long for comparison with target nights. Note that one Landolt field and two IR standards are observed each photometric night. These standards are available to anyone, and are not charged to any program. However time for any additional standards required must be included in the request.
  • 1.5m + RCSpec (user): User runs of arbitrary length are supported. User runs will NOT be available once the IR camera is mounted, which is likely to start in April or May.
  • 1.5m + RCSpec (service): Service observing of up to 1/2 the nights will be supported. A very limited range of grating choices is available, since gratings cannot be changed during the night. Gratings 47 and 26 will certainly be supported - other gratings cannot be guaranteed. Please specify request as hours per night and number of nights. Note that this instrument/mode will have VERY limited availability once the IR camera goes on.
  • 1.5m + 2K IR camera (service ONLY): This instrument will likely begin routine observations starting in April or May. In principle all time on this instrument this year is reserved for AMNH users (time will be available to the rest of the consortium next year).

    Instrument Descriptions

  • 0.9m: See the CTIO 0.9m web page. The 2k CCD imager provides a 13.5 arcminute field of view with 0.4 arcsecond pixels.
  • 1.3m: The 1.3m is the telescope used for the 2MASS survey. The ANDICAM dual channel optical/near-IR imager is permanently mounted on the 1.3m. Operation details are available at this site; details about the instrumentation are here. With ANDICAM one can obtain UBVRIJHK photometry within a 6 arcmin (optical) or 1 arcmin (near-IR) field.
  • 1.0m: See the YALO web site. The 4k imager will provide a 20 arcmin field of view for UBVRI imaging.
  • 1.5m: For the first few months of the semester, the RC spectrograph will be mounted on the 1.5m telescope. The RC spectrograph is used for low to moderate resolution (300 < R < 3400 in first order) spectroscopy.

    SMARTS Facilities and Instruments for 2003
    0.9m 2k CFIM
    1.3m ANDICAM
    1.5m RC spectrograph

    SMARTS Facilities and Instruments for 2004
    0.9m2k CFIM
    1.0m4k imager
    1.5mRC spectrograph
    1.5mIR imager

    Standard RC Spectrograph Setups
    47/I6010 - 73331.11
    47/Ib5652 - 69721.10
    47/II3878 - 45510.56
    47/IIb4028 - 47020.56
    26/I3532 - 53001.48
    56/II4017 - 49380.77

    Stony Brook Participation

    Stony Brook gets about 100 nights per year. About 30 nights are reserved for the SIM project; the rest are open to all. Time is awarded semi-annually, with proposals due in November and May. USB proposals for the 2004A semester are due November 14 (see the Call for Proposals for details.

    Rules for proposing for USB time:

    1. Download the observing proposal form.
    2. Fill out the form. Estimate exposure times, being sure to account for all overhead times.
    3. All proposals must include all necessary calibrations. We have defined a number of standard fields for optical photometry that we intend to build into the pipelines here at Stony Brook. Users are urged to use these standard fields. We also propose a standard spectroscopic observing sequence. Suggested spectrophotometric standards will supplied later.
    4. All proposals returned by the deadline will be reviewed by the time allocation committee (F. Walter, M. Simon) for technical feasibility, and then ranked by scientific priority.
    5. 25 hours per semester are reserved for proposals from qualified undergraduates (those who have taken AST 443, or who have research experience).

    The 2003A semester schedules

    1. 0.9m schedule
    2. 1.3m schedule
    3. 1.5m schedule
    4. Detailed 1.5m schedule

    The 2003B semester schedules

    1. 0.9m schedule
    2. 1.3m schedule
    3. 1.5m schedule
    4. Detailed 1.5m schedule

    Program Scheduling

    Please contact these people only for scheduling concerns: they are not sources of information about the instrumentation.

    1. 0.9m: contact T. Henry.
    2. 1.3m: see this page.
    3. 1.5m: contact F. Walter.

    updated 10/27/03 by FMW. Refer queries to