The IRTF is a 3.0 meter telescope, optimized for infrared observations, and located at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai`i. The observatory is operated and managed for NASA by the University of Hawai`i Institute for Astronomy, located in Honolulu. NASA provides the costs of operation and NSF provides funding for new focal plane instrumentation through the peer review process. Observing time is open to the entire astronomical community, and 50% of the IRTF observing time is reserved for studies of solar system objects.
Observing time is allocated twice a year for the Feb. - July and Aug. - Jan. time periods. For information on observing time applications see Observing Time Applications. The Time Allocation Committee consists of 6 members, three with expertise in solar system research and three in non-solar system research. The IRTF Div. Chief chairs the committee but does not vote. List of current TAC members. While the IRTF emphasizes solar sytem research , research in all fields of astronomy are conducted with the IRTF. Examples of the type of research carried out by observers using the IRTF can be found from the list of past Applications Awarded Time.