Cristina Torres
Memorial Observatory

The Gateway to the Cosmos

Nompuewenu means "beyond the sky"

The Dr. Cristina V. Torres Memorial Astronomical Observatory, or CTMO, is an optical observatory located in Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville, Texas. CTMO is the primary astronomical facility of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as well as the Brownsville community and South Texas. It is operated by members of the Time Domain Astronomy Group at the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy under the direction of Dr. Mario Diaz.

The main activities of CTMO are:

  • Research: Observational projects include asteroid tracking and characterization, variable star observations, exoplanet transits, trans-Neptunian object detection, and supernova/transient searches in galaxies. The observatory is part of the Transient Robotic Observatory of the South (TOROS), a network of observatories that responds to astronomical events such as gravitational waves and gamma-ray bursts, and detects their optical counterparts.
  • Education: Many students and teachers use the facility as an experience-based learning tool through training on the operation of of the observatory and its various instrumentation. CTMO is developing an observational astronomy curriculum that will be adopted in local high schools and implemented via remote command of the observatory.
  • Outreach: CTMO fosters the interest in astronomy within the community through activities such as stargazing events, tours, public talks, astronomy nights, and night hikes.