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Las Campanas Observatory [LCO]


Las Campanas Observatory operates in Chile since 1969 through a Cooperative Agreement with the University of Chile and under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile

Location: {29° 0′ 52.56″ S, 70° 41′ 33.36″ W}  {-29.0146, -70.6926} altitude 2380m


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Operations are presently suspended at least through 15 June 

(next update 05, June)  

Magellan Remote Observations Contingency Plans

Magellan Telescopes

The twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes are widely considered to be the best natural imaging telescopes in the world. They were built and continue to be operated by a consortium consisting of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Harvard University, MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of Arizona. The telescopes are located at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory, high in the southern reaches of Chile's Atacama Desert. First light for the Walter Baade telescope occurred on September 15, 2000. The Landon Clay telescope started science operations on September 7, 2002.

There are several instruments operating on, or under construction for, the Las Campanas telescopes.

Du Pont Telescope

The 2.5-meter (100-inch) Irénée du Pont telescope has been in operation at Las Campanas Observatory since 1977. The telescope was a result of a gift in 1970 from Mr. and Mrs. Crawford H. Greenewalt to the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which supplied supplemental funds. Basic considerations in designing the telescope were that it be as versatile, reliable, and convenient as possible for its size, and that it have excellent optical performance to match the natural observing conditions offered by the site. Because there were no plans at the time to build companion instruments, such as a large Schmidt for wide-angle surveys, the du Pont telescope was designed to have an exceptionally wide field for direct photography.

 Swope Telescope

Put into operation in 1971, became the first telescope of The Carnegie Institution at the observatory on cerro Las Campanas in Chile.

The Swope Telescope, a 1-meter (40-inch) reflector, is named after a former Carnegie astronomer, Henrietta Swope, a collaborator of Walter Baade and the author of several classic papers, whose generous gift made possible the construction of the telescope.


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