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[submitted] World Observatory

World Observatory visualizes S/N-versus-cost tradeoffs for large optical/near-infrared telescopes. Both mid-latitude and Arctic/Antarctic sites can be considered; the intent is a simple simulation to grow intuition for where major capital costs lie relative to key observatory design choices, and against expected scientific performance at various sites. User-defined unit costs for (a possibly "effective") roadway, enclosure, aperture, focal length, and adaptive optics can be scaled up for polar sites, and down for better seeing and lower sky brightness in K-band. Observatory models and results are immediately displayed side-by-side. Either point-source-detection S/N or recovery of bulge-to-total ratios in a simulated galaxy survey are divided by the total project cost - giving a universal metric.

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