General Nathan Twining Observatory
GNTO is a TAAS owned and operated observatory located south of Belen, NM (about 45 miles south of the Big-I).
Located under beautiful dark skies, this dark-sky facility is available to TAAS members and their guests 365 days per year.
You don't even need to own a telescope to observe at GNTO. TAAS members can use the 16-inch reflector in the main dome,
borrow an on-site loaner telescope, or produce their own pictures of distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters!
The facility includes:
- 22 Observing Pads
- Two fixed piers
- Cafe & Warmup Building (Cocina Galactica)
- Bunking, Meeting, & Remote Imaging facility (ROOst)
- 16-inch equatorially mounted f/6 Cave Newtonian reflector housed in the Main Dome
- 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope equipped with a full array of CCD astrophotography housed in the Imaging Dome
- On-Site Loaner Telescopes
- Picnic Area
- Lecture Area
- Monthly Events
- 3rd Quarter Moon Observing
- New Moon Observing
- Semi-Annual Events
- TAAS 200 Scavenger Hunt (Spring & Fall)
- Annual Events
- Messier Marathon
- Holiday Celebration
GNTO Events are listed on the TAAS Calendar. The monthly events are an excellent opportunity to learn from other astronomers. Each of the monthly events is coordinated by an "Opener" who announces the event on TAAS_Talk and provides details on when the site will be open. You should contact the Opener for details concerning the event.
Special events are such as TAAS Fab 50, constellation tours, and training are announced via TAAS_Talk and scheduled on the TAAS Calendar.
Safety is paramount at this remote site. Please review the site safety rules.
The history of GNTO is a story of community. For over 25 years TAAS Members have donated their time and resources to building a facility that is remarkably well equipped and yet readily accessible.
Detailed directions for traveling to the site are available by request from the GNTO Director.
Any TAAS Member can open the GNTO Observing Field by using the GNTO Observing Field Access Procedure and Checklist available
in the GNTO Files section.
The GNTO Clear Sky Chart below shows the forecasted sky conditions at GNTO. The best conditions are when the four horizontal lines are all 'dark' during nighttime hours. Click the image for an explanation.
Current GNTO Weather Station data is available here