During the twenty-two years since the ING began operating
the WHT, the ING telescopes have had an excellent track record
of world-class scientific results in virtually all areas of
optical-infrared observational astronomy. With the current
International Agreements for Astronomy in the Canary Islands ending in
2012, the ING is discussing its role for the coming decade. As the
funding agencies explore post-2012 managerial arrangements,
ING would like to involve the astronomy communities it serves in
shaping the scientific roadmap for our telescopes.
Our proposed strategic vision for the coming decade is outlined
on the ING web site.
A key component of this strategy is a focus on wide-field
astronomy, where 4-m telescopes have the potential to out-perform
10-m class telescopes. In this context, ING is studying the possible
provision of a wide-field multi-object spectrograph (MOS) for the WHT
prime focus. Such an instrument would provide unique capabilities in
the northern hemisphere for scientific exploitation of upcoming
European-led and international imaging surveys on the ground, and from
space. The requirements for such a MOS need to be established by our
user communities, who also need to clarify their interest in
contributing to the construction and exploitation of this facility.
With the progressive shift towards the Southern Hemisphere provided by
ESO telescopes, the ING provides essential access to the northern
hemisphere, and there needs to be discussion about the number of
instruments (resident or visitor) to be supported on the WHT, the
balance between classical, visitor-oriented operations and survey
science, and the recommendations of the ASTRONET-sponsored European
Telescope Strategy Review Committee, which should be published shortly.
The time is therefore ripe for a workshop bringing together ING
observers to share their views on the scientific priorities, the
instruments and the operating mode that will keep the WHT a
world-class 4-m telescope in the coming decade.
The workshop on March 22 will be devoted to invited 15-minute science
presentations, concluding with a discussion period.
Some time will be available for short (10-min) contributed talks.
These should focus on highlighting specific improvements that would
make our instruments, and the user's science, more competitive. There
will also be limited space for posters. If you would like to present
a talk or a poster, please provide a title and abstract on the
On March 23 (morning only) those wishing to be involved in
the definition and development of a wide-field MOS on the WHT will
meet with the aim of organising a study leading to a proposal to our
agencies for the construction and exploitation of the new instrument.
The presentations made at the meeting will be recorded on video, and
made available on the ING web site (subject to permission from the
individual speakers). We do not plan to publish formal proceedings.