The Low Thermal Mass Observatory
After much consideration, the MCAO Board of Trustees decided that the disadvantages of expense and poor seeing conditions excluded the possibility of renovating the existing main dome to house the new telescope. Instead, MCAO is building a new facility to house the telescope. The Low Thermal Mass Observatory (LTMO) building is designed specifically to mitigate the problems of heat generation, and provide good ventilation and insulation. The low thermal mass construction is designed to keep the telescope as close to ambient temperature as possible. The image above left shows a LTMO building at the Observatorio Astronomico in Baja, Mexico. This building was still under construction, and will be covered with a sun shield to minimize heating. The image above right shows the interior view, looking up to the telescope flooring. The cyclindrical pipe to the left is the telescope pier.
MCAO's 20 foot tall LTMO is under construction by DFM Engineering. The image to the left shows some of the completed ribs. The images below show the completed pier. The building components should be arriving on site by the end of October or early November.