The twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes Baade and Clay are located 60 meters apart on an isolated peak (Cerro Manqui) at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory 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.
The telescopes were built and are operated by a consortium consisting of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Harvard University, MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of Arizona. Limited observing time is available to the entire astronomical community as a result of awards from NSF’s Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP).
The telescopes are an alt-azimuth design. The principal foci are f/11 at the two Nasmyth locations and f/15 in the Cassegrain position, although at present only the f/11 focus is implemented on the Baade Telescope. In addition, three auxiliary f/11 are provided on the center section. The telescope and enclosure are designed to minimize image degradation due to thermal effects. Separate ventilation systems for the enclosure, telescope structure, and primary mirror maintain surfaces within the dome at the outside air temperature during night time observing. Active controls are incorporated in the telescope optics. The mirrors have position control for alignment. These are active during observing. Figure control of the primary mirror is used to correct low-order aberrations in the optical system. In addition, the secondary mirror has a tip-tilt mechanism for fast guiding.
Office Location: Las Campanas Observatory Carnegie Institution of Washington
Colina El Pino Casilla 601 La Serena, Chile
Last updated or reviewed March 2, 2011.