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USIC is a consortium of US-based optical interferometers begun on February 1st 2007.


The USIC Mission:

  1. Work with other organizations and institutions to develop funding opportunities in order to provide open access to the US optical interferometry observatories.
  2. Define a role for current interferometers in the process towards building the next generation interferometers.
  3. Collaborate on both technology development and science.

A USIC email list exists for the distribution of news and updates. Should you wish to be added to this list please contact Theo ten Brummelaar.

Latest News

For a brief record of how the USIC approached preparations for Astro2010, see http://usic.wikispaces.com/Decadal+Review+Activities. The brief summary of the outcome is that the USIC managed the preparation of one Science White paper, one Policy Position paper, one Technology paper, and one Activity paper. All told, some 70+ papers to Astro2010 either emphasized or referenced the capabilities of optical interferometry. For a more detailed accounting and for access to the papers, see http://usic.wikispaces.com/ASTRO2010+White+Papers .

In 2013, the USIC collaborated in the formation of the Interferometry Forum, an international organization that extends the USIC mission to the international stage, under the sponsorship of the International Astronomical Union Commission 54.

The USIC has responded to the invitation from the National Academy for contributed white papers on the topic, "A Strategy to Optimize the U.S. Optical and Infrared System in the Era of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)". The paper "Funding technology development and novel instrumentation today in order to enable breakthrough observing techniques tomorrow" addresses the concerns for funding of innovative instrumentation and technology. The paper "Supporting Community Access to Optical/Infrared Interferometry" discusses the need for community access to optical interferometry and the importance of NSF programs which support it.

History of USIC

The USIC is a successor activity to a series of predecessor groups. The first was the Committee on Ground-Based Interferometry, an ad hoc and self-forming group to study to future of interferometry, chaired by Deane Peterson. The COGBI was active from March 2005 until June 2006, and functioned by occasional telecon.

The COGBI contributed to preparations for the NOAO Workshop on Future Directions for Interferometry. The workshop attracted more than 60 participants to a two-day working meeting. See http://www.noao.edu/meetings/interferometry/ for the agenda, contributions and report.

Following the NOAO Workshop, the COGBI morphed into the Platform of US based optical interferometers, chaired by Erik Bakker. At this time, the participation was primarily by scientists involved with the classical arrays.

In February 2007, the Platform was renamed the United States Interferometry Consortium (USIC = pronounced You Ess Eye See, please) and the group recruited participation by Keck Interferometer and LBTI. The current chair is Tom Armstrong. Past chairs are Theo ten Brummelaar and MIchelle Creech-Eakman.

USIC and Space Interferometry

It is natural to think of space as the ideal venue for interferometry, with no disturbing/absorbing atmosphere and with easy reconfiguration of free-floating telescopes. USIC represents the U.S. ground-based interferometry community. It does not try to speak for the space intereferometry community, but needless to say, there are many links, technically, scientifically, and in exchanges of scientific and technical personnel. This has been evident and richly exploited by NASA in the simultaneous development of SIM technology and Keck Interferometer, while operating the Palomar Testbed Interferometer. It is reasonable to expect continuing significant transfers, in both directions, in scientific and technical arenas, and we look forward to continued fruitful collaboration between these communities, developing strategies which make optimum utilization of both ground and space platforms.