George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory

George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory

The Wallace Astrophysical Observatory is a teaching and research facility run by the planetary astronomy lab in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. In addition to serving students in observing subjects at MIT, the observatory’s telescopes have been used to monitor extrasolar planet transits, measure asteroid light curves (to determine spin vectors and shapes of main belt asteroids), and to predict shadow paths for stellar occultations by Pluto and other solar system bodies. Future observing plans for the 24-in may include asteroid rotation lightcurves, occultation candidate stars, follow-up work on near-Earth objects, comets, and Kuiper belt objects. Facilities include six telescopes mounted on permanent concrete piers at the site. The two largest telescopes at Wallace, the 24-in and the 16-in Cassegrain reflectors, each have their own domes. Four more telescopes are housed in an observing shed with a roll-off roof.

IN THE NEWS

  • MIT NEWS OFFICE Remote observing now in progress May 27, 2015 After two years of work, MIT's Wallace Observatory team has "perfected" the ability to control its fleet of smaller telescopes remotely and automatically.