Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

Coordinates: 30°10′11″S 70°48′23″W / 30.169661°S 70.806525°W / -30.169661; -70.806525
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Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Cerro Tololo and the Blanco Telescope viewed from the summit access road
Alternative namesCTIO Edit this on Wikidata
Observatory code 807 Edit this on Wikidata
LocationCoquimbo Region, Chile
Coordinates30°10′11″S 70°48′23″W / 30.169661°S 70.806525°W / -30.169661; -70.806525
Altitude2,207 m (7,241 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Established1962 Edit this on Wikidata
Websitenoirlab.edu/public/programs/ctio/ Edit this at Wikidata
SOAR Telescope4.1 m reflector
Blanco Telescope4.0 m reflector
SMARTS 1.5-meter1.5 m reflector
SMARTS 1.3-meter1.3 m reflector
SMARTS "Yale" Telescope1.0 m reflector
LCOGTN (u/c)3× 1.0 m reflectors
SMARTS 0.9-meter0.9 m reflector
PROMPT 7 (u/c)0.8 m reflector
Curtis-Schmidt Telescope0.6 m reflector
Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper0.6 m telescope
SARA South Telescope0.6 m reflector
CHASE telescope0.5 m reflector
PROMPT6× 0.4 m reflectors
GONGsolar telescope
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is located in Chile
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Location of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
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The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is an astronomical observatory located on the summit of Mt.Cerro Tololo in the Coquimbo Region of northern Chile, with additional facilities located on Mt. Cerro Pachón about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the southeast. It is approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of La Serena, where support facilities are located. The principal telescopes at CTIO are the 4 m Víctor M. Blanco Telescope, named after Puerto Rican astronomer Víctor Manuel Blanco, and the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope, which is situated on Cerro Pachón.[1] Other telescopes on Cerro Tololo include the 1.5 m, 1.3 m, 1.0 m, and 0.9 m telescopes operated by the SMARTS consortium. CTIO also hosts other research projects, such as PROMPT, WHAM, and LCOGTN, providing a platform for access to the southern hemisphere for U.S. and worldwide scientific research.[2]


In 1959, German astronomer Jürgen Stock arrived in Santiago to look for the optimum site for an observatory, working on behalf of the Yerkes Observatory by the University of Chicago[3] under Gerard Kuiper.[4]He went to the semi-arid region of Coquimbo, South of the Atacama desert and climbed numerous mountains, carrying a Danjon telescope and an interferometer to determine visibility and accurately measure the wavelength of light.[3] He did not have a barometer, to do meteorological forecasting and learnt from muleteers to observe animal behavior, like condor accumulations for weather changes.[3]

The site for the Inter-American Observatory on Mt.Cerro Tololo was identified by a team of scientists from Chile and the United States in 1959, and it was selected in 1962.[5][6] Construction began in 1963 with Stock as the first director, and regular astronomical observations commenced in 1965.[7]

In 1974, construction of large buildings on Cerro Tololo ended with the completion of the Víctor Blanco Telescope, but smaller facilities have been built since then.[citation needed] Cerro Pachón is still under development, with two large telescopes (Gemini South and SOAR) inaugurated since 2000, and one in the final stages of construction as of 2023 (the Vera C. Rubin Observatory)[citation needed]


CTIO is one of two observatories managed by NOIRLab, the other being Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) near Tucson, Arizona. NOIRLab is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which owns the property around the two peaks in Chile and at the headquarters in La Serena, Chile. AURA also operates the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Gemini Observatory. The 8.1 m (320 in) Gemini South Telescope located on Cerro Pachón is managed by AURA separately from CTIO for an international consortium.[8][9] The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the funding agency for NOIRLab.[1]

The Small and Medium Research Telescope System (SMARTS) is a consortium formed in 2001 after NOAO, the predecessor to NOIRLab, announced it would no longer support anything smaller than two meters at CTIO.[10] The member institutions of SMARTS now fund and manage observing time on four telescopes that fit that definition. Access has also been purchased by individual scientists.[11] SMARTS contracts with NOIRLab to maintain the telescopes it controls at CTIO, and NOIRLab retains the right to 25% of the observing time, and Chilean scientists retain 10%. SMARTS began managing telescopes in 2003.[10]

CTIOPI is the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory Parallax Investigation. It began in 1999 and uses two telescopes at Cerro Tololo, the SMARTS 1.5 m reflector and the SMARTS 0.9 m reflector. The purpose of CTIOPI is to discover nearby red, white, and brown dwarfs that lurk unidentified in the solar neighborhood. The goal is to discover 300 new southern star systems within 25 parsecs by determining trigonometric parallaxes accurate to 3 milliarcseconds.


SMARTS telescopes[edit]

Tenant telescopes[edit]

Former telescopes[edit]

Future telescopes[edit]

Other scientific projects[edit]


On the morning of Saturday, December 7, 2013, Luis González, a research assistant at the University of Chile, discovered what would later be confirmed as a supernova by José Maza, an astronomer at University of Chile and a researcher for CATA (Centro de Astrofísica y Tecnologías Afines or “Centre for Astrophysics and Related Technologies”). The supernova is the first discovery to be made by the CATA 500, a robotic telescope designed and operated by a Chilean team located in Santiago, approximately 500 kilometres to the south.[46] It is part of the GLORIA project, which provides open access to astronomers from around the world to a network of remotely operated robotic telescopes.[47] The new supernova lies in the galaxy ESO 365-G16, located 370 million light years from Earth, and has a mass eight times that of the Sun.[48]

Gomez's Hamburger, believed to be a young star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk, was discovered in 1985 on sky photographs obtained by Arturo Gomez, support technical staff at the Observatory.[49]


See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "Programs & Related Items | CTIO". Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  3. ^ a b c Silva, Barbara K. (2020-10-22). "Stars, Mules, and Interferometers in Early Transnational Astronomy in 1960s Chile". Arcadia (40). doi:10.5282/RCC/9138.
  4. ^ Silva, Bárbara (2022-06-21). "Un astrónomo, tres continentes, siete instituciones y millares de estrellas. La experiencia global de Jürgen Stock en los inicios de la astronomía en Chile". Nuevo mundo mundos nuevos. doi:10.4000/nuevomundo.87629. ISSN 1626-0252.
  5. ^ Moreno, H. (1990). "Chilean Astronomers and the Birth of Cerro Tololo". Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica. 21: 683. Bibcode:1990RMxAA..21..683M.
  6. ^ a b "CTIO History | CTIO". Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Archived from the original on 2019-01-11. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  7. ^ a b c d "OBSERVATORY REPORT: Kitt Peak-Cerro Tololo Inter-American". Astronomical Journal. 71: 229. 1966. Bibcode:1966AJ.....71..229.. doi:10.1086/109912.
  8. ^ "Media Invited to Gemini South Dedication January 18, 2002, La Serena and Cerro Pachón, Chile". Gemini Observatory. 3 December 2001. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  9. ^ "About The Gemini Observatory". Gemini Observatory. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  10. ^ a b c "SMARTS History | CTIO". Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  11. ^ "Joining SMARTS | CTIO". Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Archived from the original on 2012-04-29. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  12. ^ Goldberg, L. (1976). "Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona; Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, La Serena, Chile. Observatory reports". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society. 8: 129. Bibcode:1976BAAS....8..129G.
  13. ^ Goldberg, L.; Blanco, V. (1978). "Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona; Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, La Serena, Chile. Reports". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society. 10: 152. Bibcode:1978BAAS...10..152G.
  14. ^ "SOAR Status — Southern Astrophysics Research Telescope". SOAR. Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  15. ^ Mayall, N. U. (1969). "Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, La Serena, Chile. Report 1968-1969". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society. 1: 298. Bibcode:1969BAAS....1..298M.
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  17. ^ "The Yale-CTIO Collaboration: Past and Future". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. 1 December 1997. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  18. ^ Lippincott, S. L.; Heintz, W. D. (1975). "Sproul Observatory, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Observatory report". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society. 7: 106. Bibcode:1975BAAS....7..106L.
  19. ^ a b Mayall, N. U. (1968). "Facilities for Visitors at Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory". Zeitschrift für Astrophysik. 68: 222. Bibcode:1968ZA.....68..222M.
  20. ^ "Lowell 0.6-m Telescope to be Mothballed". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. 1 March 1996. Archived from the original on 2020-01-25. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  21. ^ "A Brief History of SARA". Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy. Archived from the original on 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  22. ^ "Michigan Astronomy | Observatories: Curtis-Schmidt Telescope". University of Michigan Department of Astronomy. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  23. ^ "WHAM Description". University of Wisconsin Department of Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  24. ^ Hamuy, Mario (2011-05-27). "CHASE: Chilean Automatic Supernova Search" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-06.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Chile forma parte del recién creado "facebook" astronómico mundial su nombre es GLORIA". 2011-11-05. Archived from the original on 2014-08-02. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  26. ^ "PROMPT Announcement". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  27. ^ "SKYNET News Archives". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  28. ^ "NSO/GONG: Site - Cerro Tololo". National Solar Observatory. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  29. ^ "The MEarth Project: Telescopes".
  30. ^ "Cerro Tololo". Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Update at Chile Site". Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  32. ^ "Our telescope network expands at Cerro Tololo". Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  33. ^ Kim, Seung-Lee; et al. (15 September 2011), Shaklan, Stuart (ed.), "Wide-field telescope design for the KMTNet project", Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V. SPIE Conference Proceedings, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 8151: 81511B, Bibcode:2011SPIE.8151E..1BK, doi:10.1117/12.894212, S2CID 121856137
  34. ^ "Installation of Three Mosaic CCD Cameras". KMTNet (Korea Microlensing Telescope Network). 2 September 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
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  40. ^ Gaustad, John E.; McCullough, Peter R.; Rosing, Wayne; Van Buren, Dave (2001). "A Robotic Wide‐Angle Hα Survey of the Southern Sky". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 113 (789): 1326–1348. arXiv:astro-ph/0108518. Bibcode:2001PASP..113.1326G. doi:10.1086/323969. S2CID 17231573.
  41. ^ "New White Dwarf Appears on Cerro Tololo". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. 1 March 1997. Archived from the original on 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  42. ^ Ochoa, Hugo; Norman, Dara (1 September 2006). "The Dwarf Moves to a New Home" (PDF). National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
  43. ^ "LSST Timeline | LSST". LSST Corporation. Archived from the original on 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  44. ^ "Andes Lidar Observatory". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  45. ^ "MPEC 2022-B21 : 2022 AP7". IAU Minor Planet Center. 2022-01-23. Retrieved 2022-11-01. (K22A07P)
  46. ^ Dramatic supernova find by Chilean team Archived 2014-03-12 at the Wayback Machine thisischile.cl, January 07, 2014, retrieved January 10, 2014
  47. ^ GLORIA project - about gloria-project-eu, retrieved January 12, 2014.
  48. ^ Telescopio chileno capta su primera supernova Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine {es} latercera.cl, Cristina Espinoza C., December 19, 2013, retrieved January 10, 2014.
  49. ^ "Gomez's Hamburger".
  50. ^ "Telescopes Standing Sentry". NOIRLab. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  51. ^ "The Circle of Light". NOIRLab. Retrieved 30 January 2023.

External links[edit]