The World’s Largest Optical Telescopes

Operational

Aperture (meters)NameLocationLatitude; Longitude AltitudeComments
10.4Gran Telescopio CanariasLa Palma, Canary Islands, Spain28 46 N; 17 53 W 2400 mObservatorio del Roque de los Muchachos; segmented mirror based onKeck
10KeckMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4123 meach mirror composed of 36 segments operated separately or in tandem as theKeck Interferometer
Keck II
~10SALTSouth African Astronomical Observatory32 23 S; 20 49 E; 1759 mbased on theHETdesign
9.2Hobby-EberlyMt. Fowlkes, Texas30 40 N; 104 1 W 2072 mvery inexpensive: spherical segmented mirror; fixed elevation; spectroscopy only
8.4Large Binocular TelescopeMt. Graham, Arizona32 42 N; 109 53 W 3170 ma pair of 8.4-m mirrors on one mount giving the light gathering of an 11.8m and eventually the resolution of a 23-m
8.3SubaruMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4100 mNAOJ
8.2AntuCerro Paranal, Chile24 38 S; 70 24 W 2635moperated separately or as units of theVLT Interferometer
Kueyen
Melipal
Yepun
8.1GillettMauna Kea, Hawaii1950 N; 155 28 W 4100 maka Gemini North
GeminiSouthCerro Pachon, Chile30 20 S;70 59 W (approx) 2737 mtwin of Gemini North
6.5MMTMt. Hopkins, Arizona31 41 N; 110 53 W 2600 m
San Pedro Mārtir ObservatoryArizonaTo be completed in 2017
Lockheed Martin CorpSunnyvale, CA
Walter BaadeLa Serena, Chile29 00.2 S; 4 42 48 W 2282 maka Magellan I;Las Campanas Obs.
Landon Clayaka Magellan II
6Bolshoi Teleskop AzimutalnyiNizhny Arkhyz, Russia43 39 N; 41 26 E 2070mLarge Altazimuth Telescope
LZTBritish Columbia, Canada49.28 N; 122.57 W 395mLiquid mirror, points only at the zenith;UBC
5HalePalomar Mountain, California33 21 N; 116 52 W 1900 m
4.2William HerschelLa Palma, Canary Islands, Spain28 46 N; 17 53 W 2400 mObservatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
SOARCerro Pachon, Chile70 44 W; 30 14 S 2738 mBrazil/USA;CTIO
LAMOSTXinglong Station, China105 50 E ? , 40 23 N 950 mBeijing Astronomical Observatory; wide field spectroscopy
4Victor BlancoCerro Tololo, Chile30 10 S;70 49 W 2200 mCTIO
VistaCerro Paranal, Chile24 36 S; 70 23 W 2635mwide field survey scope
3.9Anglo-AustralianCoonabarabran, NSW, Australia31 17 S;149 04 ESiding Spring Obs.
3.8MayallKitt Peak, Arizona31 57 N; 111 37 W 2100 mNOAO
UKIRTMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4200 mdedicated to infrared
3.7AEOSMaui, Hawaii20 42 30 N; 156 15 29 W 3058 mmostly military
3.6"360"Cerro La Silla, Chile29 15 S; 70 44 W 2400 mEuropean Southern Obs.
Canada-France-HawaiiMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4200 m
Telescopio Nazionale GalileoLa Palma, Canary Islands, Spain28 45 N; 17 53 W 2387 mItalian
3.5MPI-CAHACalar Alto, Spain37 13 N; 2 33 W 2200 m
New TechnologyCerro La Silla, Chile29 15 S; 70 44 W 2400 mEuropean Southern Obs.
ARCApache Point, New Mexico32 47 N; 105 49 W 2788 mmostly remote controlled
WIYNKitt Peak, Arizona31 57 N; 111 37 W 2100 mWisconsin, Indiana, Yale,NOAO
StarfireKirtland AFB, New Mexico1900 mmilitary
3ShaneMount Hamilton, California37 21 N; 121 38 W 1300 mLick Observatory
NASA IRTFMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4160 minfrared
2.7Harlan SmithMt. Locke, Texas30 40 N; 104 1 W 2100 mMcDonald Obs.;see also
2.6BAOByurakan, Armenia40 20N; 44 17 E 1405 mByurakan Astrophysical Observatory
ShajnCrimea, Ukraine44 44 N; 34 E 600 mCrimean Astrophysical Observatory
2.5J-PASSierra de Javalambre, Spain1.2 Giga-pixel camera
HookerMt. Wilson, California34 13N; 118 4 W 1700 mbuilt in 1917
Isaac NewtonLa Palma, Canary Islands, Spain28 45 N; 17 53 W 2382 mCrimean Astrophysical Observatory
Nordic Optical
du PontLa Serena, Chile29 00.2 S; 4 42 48 W 2282 mLas Campanas Obs.
Sloan Digital Sky SurveyApache Point, New Mexico32 47 N; 105 49 W 2788 mhuge wide-field detector
2.45CHARAMt. Wilson, California34 13N; 118 4 W 1700 minterferometer using 6 1-m scopes
2.4HiltnerKitt Peak, Arizona31 57 N; 111 37 W 2100 mMDM Observatory
LijiangLijiang City, China26 52 N; 100 14 E 3250 mYunnan Observatory(near Dayan)
Hubble Space TelescopeLow Earth orbit!varies 600km
2.3WIROJelm Mtn., Wyoming41 03 N; 106 00 W 2900 minfrared
ANUCoonabarabran, NSW, Australia31 17 S;149 04 ESiding Spring Obs.
BokKitt Peak, Arizona31 57 N; 111 37 W 2100 mSteward Obs
Vainu BappuKavalur, India12 34 N; 78 50 E 700 mIndian Institude of Astrophysics
AristarchosMt. Helmos, Greece37 59 N; 22 12 E 2340 mNational Observatory of Athens
2.2ESO-MPICerro La Silla, Chile29 15 S; 70 44 W 2335 m
MPI-CAHACalar Alto, Spain37 13 N; 2 33 W 2200 m
UHMauna Kea, Hawaii19 50 N; 155 28 W 4200 m
3x1.65Infrared Spatial InterferometerMt. Wilson, California34 13N; 118 4 W 1700 minterferometer using 3 1.65m infrared scopes

Also

2.1 Kitt Peak
2.1 McDonald (Struve)
2.1 INAOE, Puebla, Mexico
2.1 UNAM, San Pedro Martir, Mexico
2.1 El Leoncito, Argentina
2.0 Ondrejov, Czech Republic
2.0 Tusi Astronomical Obs., Shemakha, Azerbaijan
2.0 Hanle, India (a few hundred meters higher than Mauna Kea)
2.0 (Schmidt) Tautenburg Germany
2.0 Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Terskel, Caucasus
2.0 MAGNUM (Haleakala, may still be in progress)
2.0 Lyot, Pic-du-Midi, France
2.0 Faulkes Telescope North
2.0 Faulkes Telescope South

Under Construction

ApertureNameLocationComments
21.4 (7x8.4)Giant Magellan TelescopeLas Campanas, Chilesix off-axis segments plus one central segment form one optical surface
8LSSTCerro Pachon, Chileaka Dark Matter Telescope; a fast wide field survey scope
4.2DCTHappy Jack, ArizonaLowell Observatorywide field telescope
2.5SOFIA/a>stratosphereairborne infrared
VSTCerro Paranal, Chilewide field survey scope
2.4Automated Planet Finder TelescopeMount Hamilton, CaliforniaLick Observatory
4x1.8Pan-STARRSHawaiiFour separate telescopes; optimized for surveys; cheaper thanLSST; PS1 first light was Aug 2007
2.4+10x1.4Magdalena Ridge ObservatorySocorro, New Mexicoone single scope plus 10 mirror interferometer

Extremely Large Telescope Studies

ApertureNameComments
50Euro50
42E-ELTEuropean Extremely Large Telescope
30-50MaxAT
~40LAMAarray of liquid mirrors
30TMTThirty Meter Telescope (was CELT, VLOT, GSMT)
Others

Other interesting projects

ApertureNameLocationComments
42LAMAChileliquid mirror array
25Cornell Atacama TelescopeAtacama, Chileoptimized for far IR, next toALMA
6.5JWSTL2 Halo orbitaka NGST; cost reduced from initial 8m plans
4ATSTHaleakala, HawaiiAdvanced Technology Solar Telescope
2.5The MLO 100 inchMt. Laguna, CA
2Indian Astronomical ObservatoryHanle, India4500m altitude
1.86Dominion Astrophysical ObservatoryVictoria, Canadawas once (briefly) the largest telescope in the world
1.8The Leviathan of ParsonstownBirr, IrelandLord Rosse's famous scope restored
1.5Hexapod TelescopeLa Sillaunique mount utilizing 6 hydraulic "legs"
1.2Samuel Oschin TelescopePalomar Mountain, Californiafound the "tenth planet"
1Yerkes ObservatoryWilliams Bay, Wisconsinworld's largest refractor

References


Bill Arnett; last updated: 2010 Aug 14 ; additions / corrections / updates appreciated