Las Campanas Observatory is part of the Carnegie Observatories, one of the six departments of the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Carnegie astronomers had long wanted an observing station in the Southern Hemisphere that would give them access to the Magellanic Clouds and the center of the Milky Way. The Las Campanas Observatory, located at a superb site high in the southern reaches of Chile’s Atacama Desert, was established in 1969 to be home to both 40-inch and 100-inch reflecting telescopes. The newest additions here, twin 6.5-meter reflectors, are remarkable members of the latest generation of giant telescopes. The future of Las Campanas Observatory will be marked by the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The GMT is a next-generation, extremely large telescope that, with seven segmented mirrors, will be 80 feet, or 24.5 meters, in diameter. The project is being developed by an international consortium of universities and research institutions.
About twenty scientists and administrative personnel work in the El Pino offices of the Las Campanas Observatory located in the coastal city of La Serena, Chile.
The offices were built on Colina El Pino and were inaugurated in the mid 80’s. The facilities serve as a place of arrival for astronomers and include five recently built rooms to accommodate our visitors.
The observatory itself is located in the Atacama region, approximately 170 kilometers north of La Serena, at an altitude of 2,400 meters. This region has dark and clear skies, and excellent seeing unsurpassed by any site on Earth. The principal telescopes at Las Campanas are the Swope 1-meter telescope, the du Pont 2.5-meter telescope, and the twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes. Carnegie operates the latter for a consortium whose other members are Harvard, MIT, and the Universities of Arizona and Michigan.