The Role of Public Observatories in Astronomical Observations
Recently in Japan, the number of public observatories equipped with moderate to large telescopes (60 - 100 cm), having high observational capabilities, is rapidly increasing. These observatories, which were mostly established in the 1990s, have started their astronomical observations with the collaboration of amateurs and research institutes. Whereas most of them are working in CCD imaging and/or CCD photometry, some observatories are carrying out spectroscopic observations of stars and
galaxies. This is a new trend in public observatories in Japan, and they are working both for astronomy popularization and astronomical observations as local centers of their own districts. Although they are still faced with many problems that also affect public observatories such as a limited number of staff and insufficient budgetary background, their efforts for
observations will provide a new epoch of domestic as well as international network observations in the near future. Some examples of public observatories along with their expected roles will be discussed briefly.