ARO 12m Radio Telescope
The ARO 12m Radio Telescope (ARO12m or KP12m) was a 12-meter dish located on Kitt Peak, approximately 60 mi (100 km) from Tucson, Arizona at an elevation of 6215.8 ft (1894.5 m). It is currently decommissioned.
The 12m was built in 1967 under the umbrella of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). At that time, the dish was 36 feet (11 meters) in diameter and was known as the 36-foot Telescope. In 1984, it was renovated with a new backup structure and a wider dish. At this point its name was changed to the 12 Meter Telescope.
In 2000, the NRAO passed control of the telescope to the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona had been operating the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) located on Mount Graham since 1992. When it took over operations of the 12m, it created the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO) which now runs both telescopes.
This table displays some of the characteristics of the telescope and the site.
|Elevation||1894.5 m (6215.8 ft)|
|Primary Reflector Diameter||12.0 m|
|Focal Ratio (f/D)||Prime = 0.42, Cassegrain = 13.8|
|Surface Accuracy||75 λm rms|
|Mount||Elevation over Azimuth|
|Pointing Accuracy||5" rms|
|Enclosure||Tracking astrodome with movable door|
Telescope Block Diagram
Science at the 12m Radio Telescope
In the almost 40 years since it was first built, the 12m Radio Telescope has been at the forefront of millimeter molecular astronomy: studying molecules in space through the use of molecular spectroscopy at millimeter wavelengths. Many of the molecules that have been discovered in the interstellar medium were discovered by the 12m.