International Year of Astronomy Lecture Series
"Telescopes: Big and Small"
Dr. Alan T. Tokunaga
IRTF Division Chief and IfA Associate Director, Instrumentation
Institute for Astronomy
October 28, 2009
While new large telescopes garner much of the press coverage, the mid-size telescopes (less than about 4 meters in diameter) continue to be major contributors to astronomical research. This lecture highlights the research done with the 3.0-meter (9.8 ft) NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), a telescope on Mauna Kea dedicated for planetary science and mission support, operated for NASA by the University of Hawaii. Tokunaga will review the increase of telescope aperture from Galileo's time to the present, where telescopes as large as 30 meters in diameter are now being planned.