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Las Cumbres Observatory Receives $1,000,000 Grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to Build a New Telescope

Sep 26, 2017

Las Cumbres Observatory Director Todd Boroson and Founder Wayne Rosing, in the LCO warehouse with the mount for a 1-meter telescope. (Photo credit Paul Clay.)

Las Cumbres Observatory, a unique global network of robotic telescopes, is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $1,000,000 from the Heising-Simons Foundation. These funds will support the construction and deployment of a new 1-meter telescope that will be located at the McDonald Observatory in Texas.

The new 1-meter telescope in Texas will be strategically important to the LCO network and will provide several critical capabilities. The most significant impact is that it will greatly increase the ability to observe objects in the northern sky. This telescope will be a step towards the completion of LCO’s northern ring, which will allow 24-hour continuous monitoring in the northern skies. This is an exclusive capability of the LCO network that provides data for significant scientific discoveries.

Las Cumbres Observatory was founded by technologist Wayne Rosing and has been operating its global network since 2014. “We have built the integrated telescope network that will guide the future of time domain astronomy,” said Rosing. “Our observatory is a global machine tuned for discovery of new astronomical events and the physics of the cosmos. This grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation will double our capacity to follow events in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Dr. Todd Boroson, President and Director of Las Cumbres Observatory, is looking forward to partnering with the Heising-Simons Foundation on this project. "This support will allow us to extend our observatory at this critical time. We are at the beginning of the golden age of time-domain astronomy - the study of things that change in the night sky ," Boroson said. "We are grateful to the Heising-Simons Foundation for their confidence in our work and our future."

The McDonald Observatory is an astronomical observatory located near Fort Davis, Texas, and is operated by the University of Texas at Austin. Astronomer Taft Armandroff is the Director of the McDonald Observatory. “We are pleased and grateful to have another LCO 1-meter telescope studying the very dark skies over McDonald Observatory,” said Armandroff. “The unique capabilities of the Las Cumbres Observatory align well with the research interests of astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin.”

The Heising-Simons Foundation’s Science program supports fundamental research primarily in the physical sciences, including astronomy and cosmology. “The Heising-Simons Foundation is delighted to support the construction, installation, and commissioning of a new 1-meter telescope at the McDonald Observatory, and its integration into the LCO network of telescopes,” said Jochen Marschall, Science Program Officer at the Heising-Simons Foundation. “LCO is a unique resource for time-domain astronomy and this addition will enhance its capacity and capability to observe transient objects in the northern sky.”

About the Heising-Simons Foundation

The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. Learn more at