Major Observatories and Groups: Astronomy Guide
The following is a list of major observatories and astronomy groups. It's not a comprehensive list, but serves as a starting point.
Founded by George Ellery Hale in 1904. Located in Pasadena, California, and they operate telescopes at their site on Cerro Las Campanas, Chile. They provide information about the history of the observatories, and the research interests and projects of the staff.
High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) Observatories
Most of these are space based observatories, and some of them are listed below in the Observing Programs section. One can find information and data from dozens of active and past missions.
European Southern Observatory (ESO)
The European Southern Observatory is an intergovernmental, European organization for astronomical research with nine member countries. ESO operates astronomical observatories in Chile, and its headquarters is in Garching, Germany. They provide information on their observing facilities, projects, scientific activities, and their outreach to the public.
An international partnership that will result in two 8.1-meter telescopes. One telescope is located on Hawaii's Mauna Kea and the other on Chile's Cerro Pachón. The link above points to the "Public Home Page" which provides basic information and a virtual tour of Gemini North. They also provide newsletters and press releases so anyone can obtain more information concerning the facility.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)
Combines the resources and research of facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director. In addition to providing access to the NASA Astrophysics Data System and SIMBAD, they also house the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams which publishes information on transient astronomical events through their IAU Circulars and the Minor Planet Center which publishes the Minor Planet Circulars. (IAU Circulars older than two weeks are freely available -- http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iauc/RecentIAUCs.html and all Minor Planet Circulars are freely available -- http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/mpec/RecentMPECs.html.)
Major Discussion Groups
Board on Physics and Astronomy
This is the National Academies' principal forum for the communication of issues in the fields of physics and astronomy. It has published a number of appropriate reports, including "Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennium" -- http://www.nationalacademies.org/bpa/reports/aanm/
CalTech Astronomy: Overview of Observatories
They manage some major observatories, such as:
- Palomar -- http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/. Home of the famous 200 inch telescope. This had been the world's largest telescope for decades.
- Keck -- http://www.keckobservatory.org. "Their instruments are the twin Keck Telescopes, the world's largest optical and infrared telescopes." The "News" section of the web site notes recent science, and the "General Information" section is useful for anyone that want to learn more about the instruments.