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E. V. Ryan (NM Tech/NMHU), W. H. Ryan (NMHU/NM Tech), V. D. Romero (NM Tech), Magdalena Ridge Observatory Consortium Collaboration
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory Consortium, consisting of New Mexico Tech, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico State University, the University of Puerto Rico, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, has been funded to design and build an astronomical facility at 10,700 feet atop the Magdalena Mountains in Central New Mexico. This facility will consist of one stand alone 2.4-meter telescope and an interferometric array of up to ten smaller aperture telescopes. The primary science drivers for the 2.4-meter telescope are asteroid studies and the rapid response to astrophysical transient phenomena such as gamma ray burster events. Planned instrumentation includes a low-resolution, wide-band Visible/IR spectrograph, a high-speed polarimeter, and a CCD imager. Asteroid characterization studies typically require large allotments of telescope time, especially for shape determinations. Modern CCD's have allowed the amateur community to make a significant contribution to the study of brighter asteroids. However, the characterization of asteroid families, crucial to the understanding of the collisional history of the solar system, requires data on the more faint family members. Therefore, the instrumentation package planned for the MRO 2.4-meter telescope, along with a large fraction of observing time devoted to asteroid science, will make this an ideal facility for the characterization of main belt asteroids and asteroid families, Near Earth Asteroids, and Kupier Belt Objects.
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory is funded through the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.