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Title: Accurate Geodetic Coordinates for Observatories on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachon
Authors: Eric E. Mamajek

As the 50th anniversary of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) draws near, the author was surprised to learn that the published latitude and longitude for CTIO in the Astronomical Almanac and iraf observatory database appears to differ from modern GPS-measured geodetic positions by nearly a kilometre. Surely, the position for CTIO could not be in error after five decades? The source of the discrepancy appears to be due to the ~30" difference between the astronomical and geodetic positions -- a systematic effect due to vertical deflection first reported by Harrington, Mintz Blanco, & Blanco (1972). Since the astronomical position is not necessarily the desired quantity for some calculations, and since the number of facilities on Cerro Tololo and neighbouring Cerro Pachon has grown considerably over the years, I decided to measure accurate geodetic positions for all of the observatories and some select landmarks on the two peaks using GPS and Google Earth. Both sets of measurements were inter-compared, and externally compared to a high accuracy geodetic position for a NASA Space Geodesy Program survey monument on Tololo. I conclude that Google Earth can currently be used to determine absolute geodetic positions (i.e. compared to GPS) accurate to roughly ±0.15" (±5 m) in latitude and longitude without correction, or approximately ±0".10 (±3 m) with correction. I tabulate final geodetic and geocentric positions on the WGS-84 coordinate system for all astronomical observatories on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachon with accuracy ±0".1 (±3 m). One surprise is that an oft-cited position for LSST is in error by 9.4 km and the quoted elevation is in error by 500 m.


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Dark energy camera records first images

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration announced this week that the Dark Energy Camera, the product of eight years of planning and construction by scientists, engineers, and technicians on three continents, has achieved first light. The first pictures of the southern sky were taken by the 570-megapixel camera on 12 September.
UK astronomers are key players in the DES collaboration, which is led by Fermilab in the US. The UK consortium comprises UCL (University College London), Portsmouth, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Sussex and Nottingham. The construction of the DES Camera was partially supported by UKs STFC.

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Dark Energy Camera
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NOAO: World's most powerful digital camera opens eye, records first images in hunt for dark energy

Eight billion years ago, rays of light from distant galaxies began their long journey to Earth. That ancient starlight has now found its way to a mountaintop in Chile, where the newly constructed Dark Energy Camera, the most powerful sky-mapping machine ever created, has captured and recorded it for the first time.
That light may hold within it the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in physics - why the expansion of the universe is speeding up.
Scientists in the international Dark Energy Survey collaboration announced this week that the Dark Energy Camera, the product of eight years of planning and construction by scientists, engineers and technicians on three continents, has achieved first light. The first pictures of the southern sky were taken by the 570-megapixel camera on Sept. 12.

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RE: Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
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First Dome Installed in Chile

After 10 days of heavy labour and several hours of sweeping away snow, scraping ice, and mopping water, the first dome 1.0m  (nicknamed "Stellan" which is Latin for "Set with Stars") at Cerro Tololo  was installed Friday! The second dome was installed on Saturday just in time for lunch. And the third dome will be installed on Tuesday (the walls are already assembled). John Martinez is down in Chile helping with the assembly and installation, as well as all the other details. Fantastic job to everyone involved! We are incredibly excited and proud to have our first domes at Cerro Tololo!
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A telescope in the mountains of Chile will give Clemson astronomers an extra eye on the sky as part of an agreement arranged with 10 American colleges and universities.
The Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), of which Clemson is a member, has invested about $250,000 to refurbish and upgrade a 0.6-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
The telescope, formerly operated by Lowell Observatory in Arizona and closed in 1996, now will be remotely accessible to the American schools across the Internet.

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