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Northwestern University

Telescope Access

Go to our new CIERA Observing website

As of 2018, astronomers at Northwestern have access to some of the largest ground-based observational facilities in the world, situated in Hawaii and Arizona. Astronomy researchers can apply for nights through the internal time allocation process.

W. M. Keck Observatory:

    Northwestern astronomers have access to a pair of twin 10-meter telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii: the Keck Observatory. The combination of the large 10-meter mirrors and exquisite observing site makes Keck an unparalleled facility prior to the operations of the Extremely Large Telescopes. The Keck telescopes have a combined suite of ten instruments with a wide range of capabilities at optical and near-infrared wavelengths: imaging, spectroscopy (low- and high-resolution), multi-object spectroscopy, and an adaptive optics system. This suite makes Keck extremely valuable for a wide range of science goals. In the coming years, it is expected that Keck will also be increasingly suitable for Target-of-Opportunity studies.

    More information on the Keck Observatory and instrument suite.

MMT Observatory:

    Situated on the summit of Mount Hopkins in Arizona, Northwestern astronomers will be able to take observations with the 6.5-meter MMT Observatory. MMT is one of the most productive facilities in the Northern Hemisphere and one of a small number of telescopes of its size around the world. The MMT is outfitted with eight instruments encompassing optical and near-infrared imaging for small- and wide-fields, as well as single- and multi-object spectroscopy. Inclusive in this suite is a new optical imager and spectrograph, BinoSpec, which is being commissioned as of 2018. MMT operates in both classical and queue-scheduling modes, making it an ideal facility for both planned and unplanned, time-sensitive observations.

    More information on the MMT instrument suite.

For more information on observational access at Northwestern, please contact