Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope


The Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona operates the Arizona Radio Observatory: the 12-meter telescope (seen left), which is an ALMA prototype antenna located 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Tucson on Kitt Peak, and the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) located on Mt. Graham in South-Eastern Arizona.

The 12-meter telescope was previously the European ALMA prototype antenna from the European Southern Observatory and was transported from Arizona to Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona in 2013. This telescope is the only millimeter-wavelength telescope in the U.S. operated full-time as a national facility. 

For scientists: More details can be found on the science page.

Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope

Name(s) Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope
Status Operational
Broad Science Goals The telescope’s 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. 
Site Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA
Location Coordinates 111º 36’ 53.475’S
31º 57’ 11.99’E
Altitude 1914 meters (6280 feet)
Optical Design Cassegrain
Field of View 5 arcseconds
Diameter: Primary M1 12 meters
Material: Primary M1  
Diameter: Secondary M2  
Material: Secondary M2  
First Light Date 2014
Adaptive Optics  
Images taken with the Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope Link
Images of the Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope Link
Videos of the Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope Link
Press Releases with the  Arizona Radio Observatory 12-meter Telescope 

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