Keck dome

The World's Largest Optical Telescopes



Operational

Aperture (meters) Name Location Latitude; Longitude
Altitude
Comments
10.4 Gran Telescopio Canarias La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain 28 46 N; 17 53 W
2400 m
Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos; segmented mirror based on Keck
10.0 Keck Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4123 m
each mirror composed of 36 segments
operated separately or in tandem as the Keck Interferometer
Keck II
~10 SALT South African Astronomical Observatory 32 23 S; 20 49 E; 1759 m based on the HET design
9.2 Hobby-Eberly Mt. Fowlkes, Texas 30 40 N; 104 1 W
2072 m
very inexpensive: spherical segmented mirror; fixed elevation; spectroscopy only
8.4 Large Binocular Telescope Mt. Graham, Arizona 32 42 N; 109 53 W
3170 m
a pair of 8.4-m mirrors on one mount giving the light gathering of an 11.8m and eventually the resolution of a 23-m
8.3 Subaru Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4100 m
NAOJ
8.2 Antu Cerro Paranal, Chile 24 38 S; 70 24 W
2635m
operated separately or as units of the VLT Interferometer
Kueyen
Melipal
Yepun
8.1 Gillett Mauna Kea, Hawaii 1950 N; 155 28 W
4100 m
aka Gemini North
Gemini South Cerro Pachon, Chile 30 20 S;70 59 W (approx)
2737 m
twin of Gemini North
6.5 MMT Mt. Hopkins, Arizona 31 41 N; 110 53 W
2600 m
 
San Pedro MÓrtir Observatory. Arizona   To be completed in 2017
Lockheed Martin Corp Sunnyvale, CA    
Walter Baade La Serena, Chile 29 00.2 S; 4 42 48 W
2282 m
aka Magellan I; Las Campanas Obs.
Landon Clay aka Magellan II
6.0 Bolshoi Teleskop Azimutalnyi Nizhny Arkhyz, Russia 43 39 N; 41 26 E
2070m
Large Altazimuth Telescope
LZT British Columbia, Canada 49.28 N; 122.57 W
395m
Liquid mirror, points only at the zenith; UBC
5.0 Hale Palomar Mountain, California 33 21 N; 116 52 W
1900 m
 
4.2 William Herschel La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain 28 46 N; 17 53 W
2400 m
Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
SOAR Cerro Pachon, Chile 70 44 W; 30 14 S
2738 m
Brazil/USA; CTIO
LAMOST Xinglong Station, China 105 50 E ? , 40 23 N
950 m
Beijing Astronomical Observatory; wide field spectroscopy
4.0 Victor Blanco Cerro Tololo, Chile 30 10 S;70 49 W
2200 m
CTIO
Vista Cerro Paranal, Chile 24 36 S; 70 23 W
2635m
wide field survey scope
3.9 Anglo-Australian Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia 31 17 S;149 04 E Siding Spring Obs.
3.8 Mayall Kitt Peak, Arizona 31 57 N; 111 37 W
2100 m
NOAO
UKIRT Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4200 m
dedicated to infrared
3.7 AEOS Maui, Hawaii 20 42 30 N; 156 15 29 W
3058 m
mostly military
3.6 "360" Cerro La Silla, Chile 29 15 S; 70 44 W
2400 m
European Southern Obs.
Canada-France-Hawaii Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4200 m
 
Telescopio Nazionale Galileo La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain 28 45 N; 17 53 W
2387 m
Italian
3.5 MPI-CAHA Calar Alto, Spain 37 13 N; 2 33 W
2200 m
 
New Technology Cerro La Silla, Chile 29 15 S; 70 44 W
2400 m
European Southern Obs.
ARC Apache Point, New Mexico 32 47 N; 105 49 W
2788 m
mostly remote controlled
WIYN Kitt Peak, Arizona 31 57 N; 111 37 W
2100 m
Wisconsin, Indiana, Yale, NOAO
Starfire Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
1900 m
military
3.0 Shane Mount Hamilton, California 37 21 N; 121 38 W
1300 m
Lick Observatory
NASA IRTF Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4160 m
infrared
2.7 Harlan Smith Mt. Locke, Texas 30 40 N; 104 1 W
2100 m
McDonald Obs.; see also
2.6 BAO Byurakan, Armenia 40 20N; 44 17 E
1405 m
Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory
Shajn Crimea, Ukraine 44 44 N; 34 E
600 m
Crimean Astrophysical Observatory
2.5 J-PAS Sierra de Javalambre, Spain   1.2 Giga-pixel camera
Hooker Mt. Wilson, California 34 13N; 118 4 W
1700 m
built in 1917
Isaac Newton La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain 28 45 N; 17 53 W
2382 m
Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
Nordic Optical
du Pont La Serena, Chile 29 00.2 S; 4 42 48 W
2282 m
Las Campanas Obs.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey Apache Point, New Mexico 32 47 N; 105 49 W
2788 m
huge wide-field detector
2.45 CHARA Mt. Wilson, California 34 13N; 118 4 W
1700 m
interferometer using 6 1-m scopes
2.4 Hiltner Kitt Peak, Arizona 31 57 N; 111 37 W
2100 m
MDM Observatory
Lijiang Lijiang City, China 26 52 N; 100 14 E
3250 m
Yunnan Observatory (near Dayan)
Hubble Space Telescope Low Earth orbit! varies
600 km
 
2.3 WIRO Jelm Mtn., Wyoming 41 03 N; 106 00 W
2900 m
infrared
ANU Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia 31 17 S;149 04 E Siding Spring Obs.
Bok Kitt Peak, Arizona 31 57 N; 111 37 W
2100 m
Steward Obs.
Vainu Bappu Kavalur, India 12 34 N; 78 50 E
700 m
Indian Institude of Astrophysics
Aristarchos Mt. Helmos, Greece 37 59 N; 22 12 E
2340 m
National Observatory of Athens
2.2 ESO-MPI Cerro La Silla, Chile 29 15 S; 70 44 W
2335 m
 
MPI-CAHA Calar Alto, Spain 37 13 N; 2 33 W
2200 m
 
UH Mauna Kea, Hawaii 19 50 N; 155 28 W
4200 m
 
3x1.65 Infrared Spatial Interferometer Mt. Wilson, California 34 13N; 118 4 W
1700 m
interferometer using 3 1.65m infrared scopes

Also

2.1 Kitt Peak
2.1 McDonald (Struve)
2.1 INAOE, Puebla, Mexico
2.1 UNAM, San Pedro Martir, Mexico
2.1 El Leoncito, Argentina
2.0 Ondrejov, Czech Republic
2.0 Tusi Astronomical Obs., Shemakha, Azerbaijan
2.0 Hanle, India (a few hundred meters higher than Mauna Kea)
2.0 (Schmidt) Tautenburg Germany
2.0 Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Terskel, Caucasus
2.0 MAGNUM (Haleakala, may still be in progress)
2.0 Lyot, Pic-du-Midi, France
2.0 Faulkes Telescope North
2.0 Faulkes Telescope South

Under Construction

Aperture Name Location Comments
21.4 (7x8.4) Giant Magellan Telescope Las Campanas, Chile six off-axis segments plus one central segment form one optical surface
8 LSST Cerro Pachon, Chile aka Dark Matter Telescope; a fast wide field survey scope
4.2 DCT Happy Jack, Arizona Lowell Observatory wide field telescope
2.5 SOFIA stratosphere airborne infrared
VST Cerro Paranal, Chile wide field survey scope
2.4 Automated Planet Finder Telescope Mount Hamilton, California Lick Observatory
4x1.8 Pan-STARRS Hawaii Four separate telescopes; optimized for surveys; cheaper than LSST; PS1 first light was Aug 2007
2.4+10x1.4 Magdalena Ridge Observatory Socorro, New Mexico one single scope plus 10 mirror interferometer

Extremely Large Telescope Studies

Aperture Name Comments
50 Euro50  
42 E-ELT European Extremely Large Telescope
30-50 MaxAT  
~40 LAMA array of liquid mirrors
30 TMT Thirty Meter Telescope (was CELT, VLOT, GSMT)
Others

Other interesting projects

Aperture Name Location Comments
42 LAMA Chile liquid mirror array
25 Cornell Atacama Telescope Atacama, Chile optimized for far IR, next to ALMA
6.5 JWST L2 Halo orbit aka NGST; cost reduced from initial 8m plans
4 ATST Haleakala, Hawaii Advanced Technology Solar Telescope
2.5 The MLO 100 inch Mt. Laguna, CA  
2.0 Indian Astronomical Observatory Hanle, India 4500m altitude
1.86 Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Victoria, Canada was once (briefly) the largest telescope in the world
1.8 The Leviathan of Parsonstown Birr, Ireland Lord Rosse's famous scope restored
1.5 Hexapod Telescope La Silla unique mount utilizing 6 hydraulic "legs"
1.2 Samuel Oschin Telescope Palomar Mountain, California found the "tenth planet"
1 Yerkes Observatory Williams Bay, Wisconsin world's largest refractor

References


Bill Arnett; last updated: 2010 Aug 14 ; additions / corrections / updates appreciated