Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO)

AAL is delighted to be partnering with Macquarie University, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney, to form Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) – a collaborative national capability in optical instrumentation. The combined capability will strengthen Australia’s bids for large international contracts at leading observatories world-wide. AAL will support the new AAO through a $20million commitment of astronomy NCRIS funds over 4 years.

From the 1st July 2018, Macquarie University has taken on the capability of the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s instrumentation group, which previously sat within the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. For further details of the transfer of the old AAO instrumentation capability to Macquarie, and the newly established national AAO capability, see the Macquarie media release.

These new arrangements, along with those for operations of the AAT, 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.

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