Located at the Siding Spring Observatory, the AAT is Australia’s largest optical telescope, and currently operated by the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO). It has been instrumental to Australian optical astronomy over the past 40 years, and a suite of world-class instruments will continue to see it undertaking competitive science in the coming years.
The new arrangements for AAT operations are part of an Australian Government package announced in the May 2017 Federal Budget: Maintaining Australia’s Optical Astronomy Capability. This package includes a 10-year strategic partnership with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which gives Australian astronomers access to ESO facilities in Chile, including the four 8.2m-diameter telescopes of the Very Large Telescope.
The AAT Consortium will be governed by the AAT Council, with representation from all of the contributing university partners. AAL will act as Manager of the Consortium, with the telescope to be operated by the Australian National University.
The AAT Consortium includes: The Australian National University (operator), The University of New South Wales, The University of Sydney, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, The University of Melbourne, Swinburne University, Monash University, The University of Queensland, The University of Southern Queensland, Curtin University, The University of Tasmania and The University of Western Australia, with AAL as Consortium Manager.
See also: ANU media release (external link)