The Discovery Channel Telescope
The University of Maryland is a full partner in the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT), which is operated by Lowell Observatory. The other partners in DCT are Discovery Communications, Boston University, and the University of Toledo. With a 4.3-meter mirror, DCT is the fifth largest telescope in the continental US and one of the most technologically advanced. It is located 40 miles south-east of Flagstaff at a site called Happy Jack, which routinely delivers sub-arcsecond images. First light took place in July 2012 and science operation began in 2013.
Maryland is committed to provide financial, hardware, and software support to Lowell in exchange for guaranteed access to DCT for faculty and student research. One of the workhorse facility instruments on DCT, RIMAS, the Rapid infrared IMAger Spectrometer, is being built at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) as part of a research initiative involving GSFC and the Department of Astronomy at Maryland and falling under the auspices of the Joint Space-Science Institute. First light for this instrument took place in early 2015.