UA Science

You are here

Arizona Radio Observatory


*** Note: due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the SMT and 12M are currently restricted to remote observing only ***

Jan 20, 2020: The ARO 2021A Call for Proposals  for Mar-Jun 2021 has been released (see below; SMT only).

Jan 15, 2021: The 12m on Kitt Peak has resumed nightly observations of pandemic-postponed 2020A science projects.

Oct 15, 2020: The Submillimeter Telescope on Mt. Graham has started observations for semester 2020B, having completed its regular summer shutdown.   


The Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO) currently operates two radio telescopes in southern Arizona: the new 12m Telescope (12m), which is an ALMA prototype antenna 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 Equipment Summary and Status - Updated July 30 2019



ARO Call for Proposals - Next deadline for proposals is 23:59 MST on February 15, 2021.



April 10, 2019: ARO's SMT is part of the network of telescopes used to image event horizon of M87's black hole! See First Results from the Event Horizon Telescope for more details.



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 receives the bulk of operations funding from the State of Arizona and additional support comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for instrumentation development. Current NSF support includes Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) funding for Development of a State-of-the-Art Multiband Receiver for Arizona Radio Observatory's New ALMA Antenna (PI Ziurys; AST-1531366), Mid-Scale Innovations Program (MSIP) funding for The Event Horizon Telescope Experiment (PI Marrone; SV5-85009/AST- 1440254), a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program grant for Mapping the Fuel for Star Formation Across Cosmic History (PI Marrone; AST-1653228), an Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation grant for Measuring Reionization and the Growth of Molecular Gas with TIME (PI Marrone; S455656/AST-1910598), and a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) award for Black Hole Astrophysics in the Era of Distributed Resources and Expertise (PI Psaltis; OISE-1743747).



For the public
For Public

Public events include our Monday Night Lecture Series, world-reknowned Astronomy Camp and Mt Lemmon Sky Center.

For Students

A good place to start if you want to become an undergrad major or grad student, or need to find our schedule of classes.


For Scientists
For Scientists

Find telescopes and instruments, telescope time applications, staff and mountain contacts, and faculty and staff scientific interests.