Mount Graham International Observatory (Schedules, and local TAC)
UVa has negotiated an agreement with the Research Corporation and Steward Observatory (University of Arizona) which has given us access to the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and MGIO facilities, including the 1.8-meter VATT. When completed, the LBT will be the largest aperture optical telescope in the world.
Apache Point Observatory (Schedules, and local TAC)
As of 2007 UVa has joined the Astrophysical Research Consortium as a member institution. This gives us access to the facilities of APO and its 3.5-m telescope. The Department of Astronomy's instrument lab is currently constructing the infrared spectrograph TripleSpec which will be delivered to the 3.5-m telescope this year.
Steward Observatory (Schedules, and local TAC)
UVa has negotiated an agreement with the Research Corporation and Steward Observatory (University of Arizona) which has given us access to Steward facilities including the MMT and Magellan 6.5-meter telescopes.
The Fan Mountain Observatory is operated by the University of Virginia. The observatory is used for research involving instrument development and optical imaging and spectroscopy. The observatory is being used to provide follow-up spectroscopic observations of candidate star for the NASA SIM Mission Grid Giant Star Survey. Additionally, and near infrared imaging in support of NASA's WISE mission. There are two schedules, one for the public: Public Night Schedule, and a second one which is only for local astronomers: Local Research Schedule
The Leander McCormick Observatory is currently used for education, public outreach, and training students in observation techniques. The observatory is home to a historic 26-inch Alvan Clark Refractor. Efforts are currently underway to expand the outreach capabilities of the observatory. There are two schedules, one for the public: Public Night Schedule, and a second one which is only for local astronomers: Local Research Schedule
In addition to these facilities, researchers also take advantage of facilities like the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's VLA and GBT, Kitt Peak National Observatory. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Palomar Observatory, Las Campanas Observatory, and the Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra Space Telescopes.
Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
Astrophysical Research Consortium Telescopes (Schedules)
Steward Observatory Telescopes (Schedules)
- 10.0-meter Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) (on Mt. Graham)
- 6.5-meter (x2) Magellan Telescopes (at Las Campanas)
- 6.5-meter MMT Telescope (on Mt. Hopkins)
- 2.3-meter Bok Telescope (on Kitt Peak)
- 1.8-meter Lennon Telescope (VATT) (on Mt. Graham)
- 1.6-meter Kuiper Telescope (Catalina site)
Local University of Virginia Telescopes
- 1.0-meter (40-inch) Astrometric Reflector ( at Fan Mountain Observatory)
- 0.8-meter (31-inch) Tinsley Reflector ( at Fan Mountain Observatory)
- 0.67-meter (26-inch) Alvan Clark Refractor ( at Leander McCormick Observatory)
- 0.6-meter (24-inch) Norfolk State Univ.'s Rapid Response Robotic Telescope
- 0.3-meter (10-inch) Cooke Astrograph Refractor ( at Fan Mountain Observatory)
- 0.3-meter (10-inch) Meade LX-200 Reflector ( at Leander McCormick Observatory)
- 0.2-meter (6-inch ) Alvan Clark Refractor ( at Leander McCormick Observatory)
The University of Virginia has a long tradition of observational astronomy starting in the 1820's and continuing today. The UVa-owned observatories have recently been upgraded to modern standards and allow imaging and spectroscopy in the optical and infrared. In addition, we have joined the Large Binocular Telescope project at the Mount Graham International Observatory and with the Steward Observatory and the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC), giving UVa guaranteed access to some of the largest telescopes in the world.
The Department of Astronomy at UVa operates two local observatories. The Leander McCormick Observatory, located on the UVa Grounds, is a historical site (established in 1883) and is now primarily used for educational purposes. The Fan Mountain Observatory is a more modern observatory located about 15 miles south of Charlottesville. It is used for both education and research. In addition to these facilities, we also have a plate vault which contains over 150,000 photographic plates (spanning nearly the entire 20th century), two PDS microdensitometer labs for digitizing photographic plates, a machine shop and electronics shop which provide observatory support, and an optics lab for instrument development.
Both observatories are open to the public during the year. The McCormick Observatory is open to the public the first and third Friday of every month. The Fan Mountain Observatory is open to the public twice a year, contact the Astronomy Department for details.
University of Virginia Resources
Astronomy Shops and Labs
- Machine shop
- Electronics shop
- IR/Optics lab
- Radio Astronomy lab
- Photographic Plate vault
- Microdensitometry lab