Observatory Cerro Armazones (OCA) is located about 120km south of Antofagasta in the chilean Atacama Desert, next to the Armazones mountain (a construction site of the ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, ELT), on a small hill called Cerro Murphy. Due to its harsh atmospheric conditions, such as dry air and extremely low rainfall, the Atacama Desert is the best place for astronomical observations in the world, providing over 330 starry nights per year.
The construction of OCA started on September 13th, 2010. Until 2020, the observatory was operated jointly by the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany) and the Universidad Católica del Norte in Antofagasta (Chile), when was taken over by the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland), and dedicated to the Araucaria Project.
Currently, OCA is under construction: new telescopes are being built while old ones are being decommissioned. This huge scientific and technical undertaking is made possible thanks to the financial support from the Polish Ministry of Education and Science, and the European ERC Synergy scientific grant.
1.5-m telescope Jan Kałużny (jk15)
jk15 is an alt-azimuth telescope built by an Austrian company ASA, equipped with a professional 4k x 4k Andor iKon-XL 230 camera. It has an impressive number of filters (16): Strömgren (u b v y), Hα wide, Hα narrow, Hβ wide, Hβ narrow, Sloan (u g r i z), and Johnson-Cousins (B V Ic). It also supports a high-resolution spectrograph, BESO (wavelength range = 3700Å–8600Å, resolution λ/Δλ = 48000).
0.8-m telescope Zbigniew “Zibi” Kołaczkowski (zb08)
zb08 is an alt-azimuth telescope built by an Austrian company ASA. In one of its 4 foci a professional 2k x 2k Andor iKon-L 936 camera is mounted, guaranteeing a field of view of 17.2 x 17.2 arcmin. One filter wheel accommodates Sloan filters (u g r i z) and Johnson-Cousins filters (B V Ic), while the other has a diffuser, that allows to observe bright stars without saturation.
0.6-m telescope Wojtek Krzemiński (wk06)
wk06 is a telescope built by an Austrian company ASA on the equatorial mount, and equipped with a professional 2k x 2k Andor iKon-L 936 camera. The collection of filters – Strömgren (u b v y), Hβ wide
Hβ narrow, Johnson-Cousins (B V Ic) – is complemented by a diffuser, that allows to observe bright stars without saturation.
IRIS (InfraRed Imaging System)
IRIS is an 80 cm alt-azimuth telescope with two Nasmyth foci that can be reached via a computer-controlled movable third mirror. IRIS is equipped with a 1k x 1k infrared camera optimized for the NIR region; there are various broad and narrow band filters between 1.1 and 2.5 µ. The optical system provides a resolution of 0.74″/pixel and a field-of-view of 13’ x 13′; the limiting magnitude is about K ~ 16. Thus IRIS exceeds the capabilities of 2MASS.
This robotic telescope was installed in 2019 and is run by Potsdam university.
VYSOS 16 was a 40 cm Coudé telescope on an equatorial fork mount. It was equipped with a SBIG 3072 x 2048 pixels CCD camera, providing a 41.2′ x 27.5′ field of view.
VYSOS6 A & B consisted of two 15 cm refractor telescopes (Takahashi© TOA-150F Ortho-Apochromat Triplet) on a common German equatorial mount (Bisque Paramount ME™ Robotic Telescope System). Both telescopes were equipped with an Apogee Alta U16M 4096 x 4096 pixels CCD camera each, providing a 2°42′ x 2°42′ field of view in two filters simultaneously. There was a huge variety of broad and narrow band filters, including Johnson and Sloan filters.
BEST II was an automatic telescope with 25 cm aperture on a German equatorial mount, dedicated to photometric measurements of stellar intensity variations. The prime use of the system was robotic observational ground-based support of the COROT space mission.
In 2023-2035 we plan to build 2.5-m telescope.
Coordinates: 24° 35′ 55.21″ S, 70° 12′ 4.61″ W (-24.59867, -70.20128)
Elevation: 2817 m (9993 ft)