12 Meter Telescope - General Description

The Arizona Radio Observatory operates and maintains a 12 meter diameter telescope on Kitt Peak, 50 miles (80 km) WSW of Tucson, Arizona, for astronomical observations at millimeter wavelengths.

The ARO 12 Meter Telescope began as the 36 Foot Telescope, the telescope responsible for the birth of millimeter-wavelength molecular astronomy. During a period of explosive growth in this new area of astronomical research dozens of molecular species known to exist in the interstellar medium were first detected at the 36 Foot. In 1984, the telescope's reflecting surface and surface support structure were replaced and the 36 Foot was re-christened the 12 Meter. Subsequently, the scientific program has evolved from one dominated by observing programs in Astrochemistry to one with a broader mix of studies of molecular clouds and Galactic star formation, evolved stars, Astrochemistry, and external galaxies. The 12m offers users flexibility and the opportunity to respond quickly to new scientific developments. The Observatory maintains low-noise receiving systems covering all atmospheric windows form 68 GHz to 300 GHz. Operational reliability throughout is emphasized. Flexible spectral line and continuum backends allow the observer to match the instrument to the scientific goals. The telescope control system offers great flexibility, efficiency, and convenience, and provides a proven remote observing capability. Table 1.1 lists basic information on the observatory site and telescope.



Table 1: Telescope and Site Characteristics
  East Longitude: -111║ 36' 53.475"
  North Latitude: + 31║ 57' 12.0"
  Elevation: 1914 meters (6280 feet)
  Primary Reflector Diameter: 12.0 meters
  Focal Ratio  (f/D)  
  Prime Focus: 0.42
  Cassegrain Focus: 13.8
  Surface Accuracy : 75 Ám rms
  Mount: Elevation over Azimuth
  Slew Rate : 68║/ minute
  Pointing Accuracy : 5 rms
  Elevation Limit : 15║
  Enclosure: Tracking astrodome with movable door
  Aperture Efficiencies: 52% at 70 GHz
    49% at 115 GHz
    32% at 230 GHz
    22% at 300 GHz


 Copyright Arizona Radio Observatory.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact [tfolkers{at}email{dot}arizona{dot}edu].
Last updated: 08/05/09.