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Arizona Radio Observatory

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The Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO) owns and operates two radio telescopes in southern Arizona. The former NRAO 12 Meter (KP12m) Telescope located 50 miles southwest of Tucson on Kitt Peak and the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) located on Mt. Graham in south eastern Arizona. Below are links to the optical and instrument specifications to assist observers.

Combined,the two telescopes routinely cover the entire millimeter and submillimeter windows from about 4.6 mm to about 0.6 mm, and at the SMT observations can be made all the way to 0.3 mm with PI instruments.

The telescopes are operated around-the-clock for about 9 to 10 months per year for a combined 10,000 hours per observing season (about 1500 hours are dedicated to sub-mm wavelengths at the SMT).

The ARO offices are centrally located in the Steward Observatory building on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson Arizona.

ARO Call for Proposals

ARO's New 12 m: The European ALMA Prototype Antenna Arrives at Kitt Peak

ARO has a new 12 Meter telescope. In March 2013, an agreement was signed with ESO that transferred ownership of the European ALMA prototype antenna, located at the VLA site in New Mexico, to the University of Arizona. Preparations to move the telescope from New Mexico to Arizona began last April and continued into the summer. The main reflector was detached from the pedestal on Nov. 12. The pedestal was mounted on a 198 ft. long truck and moved to Kitt Peak. It was placed in the dome on Nov. 22, 2013, in the middle of a winter storm. The reflector followed a few weeks later. It was shipped in one piece, in bird-bath mode, for the trip from New Mexico to the base of Kitt Peak, where it was placed on a tilt-frame and then moved up the mountain. On Dec. 14, the reflector was lifted into the dome and reattached to the pedestal. The European ALMA antenna is now in its new home on Kitt Peak. The previous ARO 12M, originally the NRAO 12M, was gracefully retired on April 1, 2013. Click here for a description of the move.

The move was a great team effort between the transport company, Precision Heavy Haul, the crane company, Marco Crane (both of Phoenix Arizona), ARO and Steward ETS. Additional assistance was provided by NRAO Socorro, KPNO, European Industrial Engineering (EIE), European Southern Observatory (ESO), the National Science Foundation, the many police and transportation agencies along the route, and the Tohono O'Odham Nation.

First Light: "First Light" with the new 12 m Radio Telescope of the University of Arizona

ARO is partially funded by the NSF University Radio Observatories (URO) program through grant AST-1140030. Funding for 0.7mmsis receiver development is provided by the NSF Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation (ATI) program through grant AST-0905288. Additional funding for VLBI is provided by NSF ATI. ARO also acknowledges support from the ALMA Development Fund.

ARO Specifications

Telescope specifications

12 meter


Receiver specifications

12 meter


Backend specifications

12 meter