Welcome to the
An astronomical telescope
for research, education,
and public outreach
The Condor Array Telescope is conceived, built, and operated by a project team consisting of faculty and students based in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Stony Brook University in New York, together with their collaborators worldwide.
The project is funded by the Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation program of the National Science Foundation and involves various manufacturing partners across the United States and abroad.
Condor is an array telescope made up of six 180 mm-diameter refracting telescopes—each equipped with a focal-reducing field corrector, large-format CMOS camera, motorized filter wheel, and motorized focuser—attached to a common remote-controlled mount.
The telescope is optimized for detecting both extended, low-surface-brightness features and point sources and is capable of efficiently imaging regions of the sky at a very rapid cadence of 60 s while remaining sky-noise limited.
Condor will be located at the El Sauce Observatory operated by the Obstech robotic remote observatory in the Rio Hurtado Valley of Chile.
The El Sauce Observatory is situated around 27 km south of the Gemini telescope and LSST at Cerro Pachon, around 35 km south of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory at Cerro Tololo, and around 138 km south of the La Silla Observatory of the European Southern Observatory and enjoys some of the best astronomical conditions in the world.
Condor was awarded funding by the Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation program of the National Science Foundation in August 2019. Various components of the the telescope are currently being fabricated in Colorado, Michigan, and China, and the telescope scheduling, control, and analysis software and hardware is currently being developed and tested at Stony Brook University in New York.
The telescope has been delayed due to Covid-19 but is expected to be deployed in the spring of 2021.
The research objectives of the project include (1) studying the low-surface-brightness outer regions of the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and other nearby and distant galaxies and (2) studying transiting planets, gravitational microlensing events, and stars at a very rapid cadence of 60 s.
The education and public outreach objectives of the project include (3) executing a far-reaching broader impacts program using 20% of the available observation time, of which half of this time is allocated to faculty and students at historically black colleges and universities.
Condor integrates research, education, and public outreach using a new software infrastructure known as Elastic Cloud Astronomy that allows access to the telescope to be shared in a very flexible way, on a per-observation or a per-hour basis via a "credit" system.
The project implements advanced scheduling, control, and analysis methods using a variety of state-of-the-art computing and information technologies, including operations research tools and cloud-based computing, storage, and archiving.