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News Release 09-052

Palomar Observatory Is Last Stop on 24-Hour Webcast Linking Telescopes Around the Globe and in Space

Palomar's participation in Around the World in 80 Telescopes enabled by HRWREN's high speed, large bandwidth

Photo of the summer Milky Way behind the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory.

Summer Milky Way behind the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory.

March 25, 2009

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Around the World in 80 Telescopes, part of the International Year of Astronomy's 100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project of global outreach activities, will begin on April 3. Observatories in 15 countries spanning all the continents, as well as 11 observatories in space, will participate in this 24-hour trip to observatories across the globe and in the so-called final frontier.

The last stop of this journey will be the Palomar Observatory, run by the California Institute of Technology. There, astronomers using Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope will be on hand to answer questions and explain their research. Palomar Observatory's participation is made possible through its high-speed data connection provided by the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

HPWREN provides 155 megabits per second (OC-3 capacity) terrestrial microwave links that network Palomar Observatory to the rest of the world. This high-speed connectivity is essential for current and future research programs at Palomar, and also provides the necessary bandwidth to allow for this and other live broadcasts to take place from the observatory.

"It's important for the public to see that complex astronomical research is done by real people and how real astronomical research takes place. HPWREN's high speed connection enables us to take to the public the story of what we do at Palomar," said Palomar Observatory Spokesman W. Scott Kardel.

"It is incredibly exciting to see the NSF-funded HPWREN cyberinfrastructure show so many interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research and education results," says Hans-Werner Braun, principal investigator of the HPWREN project. "In particular, many activities over the years from researchers at the Palomar Observatory, with the science data utilizing HPWREN, have produced first-class outcomes."

The live webcast will begin on April 3, 2009, at 2:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time with the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii before moving westwards around the planet. The event ends on April 4, 2009, 2:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Palomar Observatory's portion of the event is scheduled to begin at 1:40 a.m. on April 4. The live video webcast will be available on the 100 Hours of Astronomy Web site at

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Galileo first using his astronomical telescope, 2009 has been designated as the International Year of Astronomy. 100 Hours of Astronomy is a global star party that is a cornerstone event of this year-long celebration of astronomy.

The National Science Foundation is pleased that 19 wholly or partially funded NSF observatories will also participate in Around the World in 80 Telescopes. What follows is a list of these and the times during which their researchers will actively participate in the public outreach program.

Date / Time (UT)
3 April 09:00Gemini North telescope (Hawaii, USA)
3 April 11:20Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) (Hawaii, USA)
3 April 14:40Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) (Chile)
3 April 15:00Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) (Chile)
3 April 18:20The Very Large Array (VLA) (USA)
3 April 19:00The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (USA)
3 April 20:00Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) (USA)
4 April 02:00Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico)
3 April 21:00The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) (South Africa)
3 April 23:00Gran Telescopio Canarias (Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma) (Spain)
3 April 23:40 Allen Telescope Array (USA)
4 April 00:40Space Sciences Laboratory - UC Berkeley (Space/USA)
4 April 02:00Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico)
4 April 04:00Gemini South telescope (Chile)
4 April 04:20NOAO South - Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Chile)
4 April 05:00McDonald Observatory (Hobby-Eberly Telescope) (USA)
4 April 05:20Apache Point Observatory ARC 3.5-meter Telescope (USA)
4 April 07:25The 10-meter South Pole Telescope/IceCube Neutrino Telescope (South Pole, Antarctica)
4 April 07:40Kitt Peak National Observatory (USA)


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311,
W. Scott Kardel, Palomar Observatory, (760) 742-2111,

Program Contacts
Hans-Werner Braun, HPWREN,

Principal Investigators
Scott Kardel, Palomar Observatory / Cal Tech,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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