UNC Hosts Workshop for Astrophysicists Affiliated with SOAR Telescope in Chile

April 7, 2017

UNC workshop participants watch a presentation from consortium members in Brazil.

The Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope in Cerro Pachón, Chile, is a 4.1 meter aperture ground telescope designed to produce high quality images at optical and infrared wavelengths. A consortium including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication of Brazil operates SOAR; the collaborative effort was initiated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987.

Researchers affiliated with SOAR participated in the Workshop on SOAR Science 2020 from March 13-15, 2017 at the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Brazilian Center for Research in Physics in Rio de Janeiro. The two locations were connected remotely via web conference to allow for maximum participation.

Chris Clemens with the SOAR telescope.

Chris Clemens with the SOAR telescope.

Chris Clemens, senior associate dean for natural sciences at College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill and chair of the SOAR Board of Directors, led the workshop in collaboration with Bruno Castilho, director of the National Astrophysics Laboratory in Brazil. Approximately 30 people attended in Brazil, and 25 were present at UNC.

“Workshops such as this are an important part of our SOAR collaboration,” says Clemens. “The workshop gives researchers the opportunity to talk about how we can conduct better science, as well as what’s missing in our current research capabilities.”

The workshop consisted of two full days and one half day of presentations and discussion focused on various aspects of SOAR research and plans to optimize future scientific endeavors. A full schedule from the workshop with links to presentations is available online at the SOAR 2020 Workshop website.

For more information about the SOAR telescope and consortium, please visit the SOAR website.