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Table Mountain Observatory

Coordinates: 34°22′55″N 117°40′54″W / 34.3820°N 117.6818°W / 34.3820; -117.6818
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Table Mountain Observatory
Aerial view of Table Mountain Observatory
OrganizationNASA / JPL
Observatory code673
LocationBig Pines, California, U.S.
Coordinates34°22′55″N 117°40′54″W / 34.3820°N 117.6818°W / 34.3820; -117.6818
Altitude2,286 meters (7,500 ft)
Established1924; 100 years ago (1924)
Pomona College Telescope1.0 m reflector
unnamed telescope0.6 m reflector
Table Mountain Observatory is located in the United States
Table Mountain Observatory
Location of Table Mountain Observatory
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Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) is an astronomical observation facility operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (California Institute of Technology). It is located in Big Pines, California, in the Angeles National Forest near Wrightwood, north-northeast of Los Angeles, California.[1][2]

TMO is part of JPL's Table Mountain Facility (TMF). The larger site hosts a number of non-astronomical projects. The site was first used by the Smithsonian Institution in 1924, which conducted atmospheric, solar, and astronomical observations for many years. JPL took over the lease in 1962.[3][2] The observatory conducts high-precision astrometric observations to support NASA and international spacecraft mission navigation, confirmation and recovery of near-Earth objects such as comets and asteroids that may potentially impact the Earth, and technology development.[4]

The main-belt asteroid 84882 Table Mountain was named in honor of the observatory.[2]

List of discovered minor planets[edit]

More than 260 minor planets were discovered at TMO, often referred to as "Wrightwood" the Minor Planet Center and credited to several astronomers, most notably to James Young, but also to other astronomers such as Jack B. Child, Greg Fisch, A. Grigsby, D. Mayes, and Mallory Vale. The MPC also directly credits TMO with the discovery of one numbered main-belt asteroid (see table).

(166609) 2002 RF232 10 September 2002 MPC


Two telescopes operate at TMO:

Minor planets discovered: 1 [8]
see § List of discovered minor planets

Former instruments[edit]

Former instruments at TMO include:

  • A 1.25 m (49 in) reflector previously located at Cloudcroft Observatory was acquired in the late 1980s and became operational in the early 1990s.[9][10] It was removed from the TMO web site before June 2003.[11]
  • A 0.4 m (16 in) Ritchey-Chrétien reflector built by RC Optical Systems was attached to an equatorial mount. It was installed in 2003 and removed from the TMO web site before July 2011.[12] It was housed in the dome where the Schmidt camera was previously located.
  • A 0.4 m (16 in) Cassegrain reflector was installed at TMO in 1962.[3] Harvey Mudd College was the main user of this telescope from the 1970s through at least 1991.[10]
  • A 0.27 m (11 in) Schmidt camera owned by JPL operated at TMO from 1985 until at least 1991.[10][13]
  • A 5.5 m (18 ft) millimeter wavelength radio antenna was located at TMO from 1970 until at least 1985.[13]
  • A radio interferometer with dishes of 4.4 m (14 ft) and 3.0 m (9.8 ft) became operational at TMO in 1974.[14]
Observing with the 0.6m telescope


The main-belt asteroid 84882 Table Mountain, discovered by James Whitney Young at TMO in 2003, was named in honor of the observatory.[2] Naming citation was published on 28 October 2004 (M.P.C. 52955).[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Table Mountain Observatory: Home". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  2. ^ a b c d Schmadel, Lutz D. (2006). "(84882) Table Mountain [2.63, 0.29, 13.9]". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (84882) Table Mountain, Addendum to Fifth Edition: 2003–2005. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 234. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-34361-5_2786. ISBN 978-3-540-34361-5.
  3. ^ a b Young, James W.; Harris, Alan W. (Spring 2009). "The Early History of Photometric Observations of Asteroids made at the Table Mountain Observatory". The Society for Astronomical Sciences 28th Annual Symposium on Telescope Science. Held May 19–21. 28: 77. Bibcode:2009SASS...28...77Y.
  4. ^ "Table Mountain Observatory: Programs". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  5. ^ "Projects at TMF". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2001-02-20. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  6. ^ "Telescope specs | Pomona College Astronomy Program". Pomona College Astronomy Program. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  7. ^ "Table Mountain Observatory: Telescopes". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  8. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  9. ^ Young, James W. (2009-12-17). "The Table Mountain Facility - 4: 1986 - 1998". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  10. ^ a b c Klett, K. K. (1992). "California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Table Mountain Observatory, Wrightwood, California 92397. Report for the period Jul 1990 - Jul 1991". Bulletin of the Astronomical Society. 24 (1): 119. Bibcode:1992BAAS...24..119K.
  11. ^ "Table Mountain Observatory: Telescopes". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2003-11-28. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  12. ^ "Table Mountain Observatory: Telescopes". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  13. ^ a b Young, James W. (2009-12-17). "The Table Mountain Facility - 3: 1965 - 1986". Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  14. ^ "Jet Propulsion Laboratory 1973-1974 Annual Report" (PDF). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  15. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 26 November 2016.

External links[edit]