United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre


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United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre

(UK ATC) The United Kingdom's chief scientific establishment dedicated to astronomical technology. Its primary purpose is to provide a focus within the UK for the design, production, and promotion of cutting-edge advances in the development of astronomical and astrophysical instruments and techniques. Its scientists also carry out observational and theoretical research into fundamental issues in astronomy, such as the origins of planets and of galaxies. The UK ATC is funded and managed by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). The UK ATC was formally established at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (ROE) Apr. 1998, following PPARC's reorganization of its funding of UK astronomy. Part of that reorganization involved the closure of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the transfer of some of its functions, along with some of the functions of the ROE, to the UK ATC. The center collaborates with PPARC's overseas establishments – such as the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and the UK Infrared Telescope, both at Mauna Kea in Hawaii – and international agencies such as NASA and ESA on a contractor-customer basis. It focuses its work around technologies for use in the optical, infrared and submillimeter wavebands and is involved in designing and making science instruments for such organizations as the Gemini Telescopes, the European Southern Observatory, and the planned James Webb Space Telescope project.
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