Collaboration between observatories
In the European astronomical arena international collaborations are
emerging between national facilities. These collaborations have been 
promoted and supported by the OPTICON european network, which combines 
astronomers from many european countries and is funded through the EU
(see An important driver for setting 
up collaborations between observatories is the wish to make the best 
instruments available to the wider community of astronomers for the 
advancements of our science, and to make the existing facilities 
work more efficient in the process. On a european scale it does not 
appear to make sense anymore to duplicate instrumentation while the 
cost for development and operation of telescopes with a large 
variety of instruments becomes prohibitive. Collaborations would
provide a better service for all astronomers.

One logical collaboration that is being considered is between the
Calar-Alto 3.5-m telescope in southern Spain and the 4.2-m William 
Herschel Telescope on the Canary Islands. Researchers from Germany 
would be able to request time at the WHT and visa-versa. Experience 
gained from the ING-CAHA collaboration will be helpful to define 
an operational model for a larger collaboration of European 
medium-sized telescopes which is presently being discussed.

Both the CAHA-3.5 and the WHT are equiped with a range of state of 
the art and 'staple' instruments, and offer complementary capabilities. 
Specifically, the particular strengths of the CAHA-3.5 telescope is 
Omega 2000, a NIR wide field (15') imager available in the 3.5m 
prime focus, and LAICA, a 1 square degree imager for the optical
wavelength region. Additional, state of the art instruments
are OmegaCass, a NIR detector which allows for medium-resolution
spectroscopy and polarimetry, the AO system ALFA which
is to be upgraded with a NIR wavefront sensor within the next
2 years, PMAS, a fibre-fed integral field spectrograph, and MOSCA, a 
multi-purpose focal reducer MOS capability. 
The 4.2-m WHT, on the other hand features, besides standard 
spectroscopic and optical/IR imaging tools, a wide-field 
multi-object fibre spectrograph (WYFFOS), and a high-order adaptive 
optics system (NAOMI) for IR imaging, coronography, and (from 2003) 
optical integral field spectroscopic capability. It is anticipated 
that the Adaptive Optics system will be enhanced with a Rayleigh laser 
guide star in order to enhance sky coverage. Also from 2003 onwards 
a state-of-the-art IR imaging and spectrograph system (LIRIS) will 
come into operation.

For full information on the instruments offered see and

The method of sharing time would be on a basis of swapping equal
number of nights between the CAHA-3.5 and the WHT. Observations at
the CAHA-3.5 are largely carried out in service mode and objectives
of the observations are guaranteed through automatic compensation for 
inadequate weather conditions. The normal national time allocation 
committees would decide on the scientific ranking of all proposals.

Before embarking on a collaboration we wish to canvas interest in
our user communities in The Netherlands, Germany and the United 
Kingdom. For this we are seeking your input. we hope
you can find a few minutes to answer the following questions and 
return your response:

1. Do you consider this time-share scheme between 
   the CAHA-3.5 and the WHT telescopes a generally
   positive development ?                           YES / NO / NEUTRAL

2. If working in Germany, would you consider  
   applying for time at the WHT, or if in the 
   United Kingdom or the Netherlands, would 
   you apply for time at the CAHA-3.5 ?             YES / NO / MAYBE
3. Which instrument(s) would be of particular 
   interest to you ?

4. Which instrument capability would you like to see developed
   on the CAHA-3.5 or the WHT-4.2 telescope ?

5. Any other notes or comments related to this collaboration ?

6. User profile:
   Are you an active user of ground-based telescopes ?     YES / NO
   Have you used the CAHA-3.5 in the past 3 years ?        YES / NO
   Have you used the WHT in the past 3 years ?             YES / NO
   In which country are you working ?            GER / UK / NL / OTHER

Respones to this questionnaire are welcome until the end of 
February 2002 and can be send by email or otherwise to Roland Gredel 
or Rene Rutten at the coordinates given below.

Thank you for your attention.

Roland Gredel                             Rene Rutten
Director CAHA                             Director ING                  

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