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The Apache Point Observatory houses two major and several smaller telescopes. The 3.5-meter telescope is a general purpose research facility on which the UW receives 25% of the observing time; the remainder is divided among 6 other university institutions. The UW's share is used primarily for faculty and graduate student research; much of the operation is remotely via the internet. One example of the research conducted with the 3.5-m telescope is the measurement of the moon's orbit to a precision of a half inch as a stringent test Einstein's theories of time and gravitation. The second major project is the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a collaborative project of 10 educational institutions worldwide to provide the first ever digital map of the heavens, using a special purpose 2.5-meter diameter telescope. The first 5-year phase of the deep sky survey was been completed in 2005, and a three-year extension is underway to map the structure of the Milky Way and to detect and monitor the flares of faint supernovae that trace the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.

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