What is FriOWL?
FriOWL started as a joint project between the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO, Garching, Germany) in 2002. The project goal was to find the best possible site in the world for the OWL ("OverWhelmingly Large") 100-m telescope. Thus, the original "FriOWL" acronym was born.
OWL has since been superseeded by the birth of the 40-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project, which was formerly given the green light by the ESO council in late 2006. To reflect this new era in astronomical research, FriOWL has also been reborn, with a move from the University of Fribourg to new headquarters at the University of Bern (also in Switzerland). New software tools and the new ERA-40 climatic database have been introduced. Thus, FriOWL will continue to prove an indispensable tool in the site selection for all large telescope projects.
Construction of the E-ELT could begin within three years, and it is hoped to have it ready by the year 2017. The site selection decision will need to be made much sooner than this, however. Already, ESO have narrowed down a list of possible worldwide sites to the best twenty or so.
At the heart of FriOWL is a computer interface, written in the
Java computing language,
which combines a large climatological and
geomorphological database with the ease of a Geographical Information System (GIS). One of great advantages of new FriOWL version 3 is that analyses can be performed on data
of varying X-Y dimensions, with zooming into areas of special interest.
FriOWL is directly available on the world wide web
(click "home" on the left menu to login; a
password is necessary).
FriOWL only requires that you have
have the Java Runtime Environment installed on your computer.
The FriOWL interface has been built and developed by scientists from the Universities of
Fribourg, Bern and Zürich in Switzerland over the period 2002-2008 (Moritz Neun, Michael Hayoz and Eddie Graham). As of April 2008, the current working version is
Version 3.1. For further information on FriOWL, please contact webmaster