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FA Qen

Frequently Asked Questions regarding DAG (Doğu Anadolu Gözlemevi / Eastern Anatolia Observatory)

Management

How will the need for trained staff be met?
We are planning to implement a "Staff Training Program". It is one of the priority areas that The State Planing Organization (DPT) gives consideration for financial support. It is also expected that the related departments will consider courses, summer schools, and graduate thesis topics for training both scientific and technical staff.
Is this project an alternative to TUG (TÜBİTAK National Observatory in Antalya, Turkey)?
No. Due to the properties of the site, this project is aimed at "IR Astronomy". It is planned as "in addition to TUG"; our goal is to open up a new horizon in Turkey and contribute to the international efforts in this wavelength.
How are you planning to afford the high annual expenses?
We plan to install a semi-robotic telescope and control the observatory remotely. The infrastructure costs almost nothing for the university. The other expenses are at a level that the university can afford.
How will you ensure the sustainability of DAG?
Astrophysics Division has been opened under the Department of Physics at Atatürk University. Additionally, ATASAM - Atatürk University Astrophysics Application and Research Center was established in early 2012 -- funded directly by the Rectorate. It is also a possibility to found Department of Astronomy in the future.
How will the observing time be shared?
This process will be project-oriented. Once the project proposals are received, national or international referees will be automatically assigned according to the subject of the proposal. The projects will be ranked with respect to the average of the highest two grades from three referees. Observing time will then be distributed starting with the highest-ranked project.

Scientific

Which IR wavelengths do you think will be reached?
Among the known IR bands, our main goal is to reach those allowed by the site (e.g., from K on).
What are your scientific goals?
We have two possibilities, in principle: 1) We will either choose the telescope, mirror coating, and and focal-plane tools to be dedicated to a specific subject of interest, 2) Or, we will get the coating done in a way to serve more generally for all sorts of follow-up and surveying work in IR astronomy.

Technical

Why were the meteorological data taken at Palandöken (Mountain)?
There are two summits of similar height in the region: Palandöken and Karakaya Hills. Meteorological observations have been made at Palandöken since 2007, whereas the infrastructure at Karakaya Hills, which is considered as the telescope site, had only been completed in January 2011. Meteorological observations at the actual site are planned to start around April-May 2011.
Will the photometric (IR and V) background radiation be measured at the site?
Yes, now that the infrastructure has reached the site, we are planning to start these measurements within 2011.
What are the astronomical studies that has been done/will be done at the site?
Seeing observations (DIMM) have been made at Palandöken since 2010, and will start at Karakaya Hills in 2011.
Which class (diameter) of telescope are you considering?
Taking into account the telescopes currently used in IR astronomy, we are considering a minimum of 3-meter diameter (3+). However, technical developments related to the mirrors and mechanics might allow us to consider 4+ class. The final decision will be made considering the trade-off between our scientific goals and the budget.
What type of mount will be used?
For telescopes of this diameter the only possibility is altazimuth mount (i.e., altitude-azimuth, or alt-az).
What about the focal plane?
The ideal focal plane for an alt-azimuth mount is a Nasmyth design. Prime focus and Cassegrain focus have also been used in telescopes of this class.
You mostly mention "IR telescope"; will it not be possible to observe in the optical (visible) region?
Considering the IR reflectance, there is no coating to cover both the entire visible and the IR regions (see, Metal coatings). Therefore, there will be a loss from the blue region of the visible spectrum. It may be possible to observe in both regions approximately after 400nm depending on the main coating material (Au, Ag, Al).