(NOAO) A US organization bringing under one administration the national facilities for optical astronomy at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona; Cerro Tololo Inter–American Observatory, Chile; and Sacramento Peak Observatory, New Mexico. The National Solar Observatory, formerly run by the NOAO, now has its own director. Founded in 1982, the NOAO was set up to consolidate all the groundbased optical astronomy observatories under the control of the US Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), a consortium of US universities under contract to the National Science Foundation. The headquarters of the NOAO are in Tucson, Arizona. The NOAO also represents the US astronomical community in the International Gemini Project through its NOAO Gemini Science Center at Tucson (see Gemini Telescopes).