The SARA Consortium: A Virtual Astronomy Department
For over 20 years, the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) has operated a remotely-accessible 1-m-class telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona that has served as a focus for faculty and student research. From its four charter institutional members, the SARA consortium has grown to include a dozen universities spanning Indiana to Florida. In 2007, SARA assumed operations of a similar remotely-operated telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile. SARA has most recently partnered with the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) to automate and assume operations of the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT) at the Roque des los Muchachos on La Palma. This talk will provide a brief historical perspective on the SARA consortium as well as a summary of our facilities, research interests and prospects for the future.