2023-06-02: Caltech Submillimeter Observatory Telescope Removal Update

Hilo, Hawai‘i – June 2, 2023 – Caltech will disassemble the 34-foot diameter telescope mirror from the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) on Maunakea and remove it in pieces this summer. The original plan to move it in one piece proved unfeasible.

Caltech physics professor and CSO Director Sunil Golwala reiterated that “Caltech is firmly committed to full removal of the CSO and restoration of the site.”

Transporting the disassembled mirror will be less disruptive because extensive road closures on Hawai‘i Island will not be necessary.

The original plan to remove the mirror in one piece has proved to be impractical. The alternative is to disassemble it into smaller parts, reversing the process used to assemble the telescope in the 1980s. Staging will take place in the CSO parking area at the summit. The telescope parts will be transported down the mountain in standard shipping containers and sent to Chile for reuse. Although there is more risk to the telescope, there will be less disruption because the previously announced oversize transport and road closures are unnecessary.

Once the telescope is removed, Goodfellow Bros., a general contractor, will remove the CSO buildings and other improvements and will carry out full restoration of the site.

The cost of deconstruction and site restoration is expected to exceed $4 million.

More information on the decommissioning, including all related planning documents and permits can be found here:

A summary of CSO's contributions to astronomy and astronomical instrumentation are available here:

About Caltech: Caltech is a world-renowned private science and engineering Institute located in Pasadena, California, that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges.

A photo of the telescope and the mirror that will be removed can be found here.

Media Contact:

Dana E. Butler
Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company
Phone: (808) 959-0797

cso/outreach/2023-06-02.txt · Last modified: 2023-08-28 16:37 by admin
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