This is another view of Magdalena Ridge Observatory. It shows the view from the top where the 2.4 meter telescope is located.
More information about Magdalena Ridge Observatory can be found at http://www.mro.nmt.edu/
(You may need to scroll to the right to see all of the panorama.)
Click on this photo if you want to see an even bigger version of this photo.
This was the first time I was on the observing level. On the full-sized image, you can see the VLA dishes to the left of the image, almost due west. Going to the right is South Baldy at just over 10,700 feet. At the bottom of the image, behind the ladder’s hand rail is the compacted area where the dome will be assembled. The spot was picked to be near the dome’s final home and avoid little pine tree. Then there is the control building roof. Socorro is almost due east behind the distant, Socorro mountain range. Trinity site is near the horizon about 2/3rd the way from the roof to Steve. He is drilling, tapping and screwing in the 300+ bolts that hold down the diamond plate flooring. He can do about 40 bolts per day, you do the math on how long he’ll be up there. The hand rails are around the hole where the primary mirror in its cell will be lowered when it needs recoating. The telescope base will stick up through the octagonal hole in the center. For scale, the Nasmyth port where the instruments will be mounted is 9 feet above the floor. Beyond the octagonal hole is a smaller hole for a lift. To far right is the stairs to access the observing floor.
If you would like to see the observatory under construction, please watch our webcam at http://www.mro.nmt.edu/2.4m/webcam. It won’t be long before the last of the side panels are installed - well all but a few that have to be left off for the elevator installation. When you watch the webcam, think that we’ll start observing asteroids in October of this year! And if you want to come out to see the observatory, sorry, just the other day the Forest Service closed the Cibola National Forest due to extreme fire hazard. So, you’ll have to please bring several inches of Michigan rain to reduce the fire hazard;-)
- Mark Vincent, May 2006.