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Mark Klaene becomes site manager at Apache Point Observatory

Mark Klaene, deputy site manager at Apache Point Observatory (APO) for the past 10 years, has been named site manager of the observatory, located in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico.



Mark Klaene has been named site manager at Apache Point Observatory, operated by New Mexico State University in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico.

As site manager, Klaene manages a $50 million facility with about 25 employees and an annual operating budget of about $3 million, said Kurt Anderson, New Mexico State University astronomy professor and site director for the observatory.

The NMSU Astronomy Department operates APO for the Astrophysical Research Corporation (ARC), a collaborative partnership that includes NMSU, University of Washington, University of Chicago, the Institute of Advanced Study, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Virginia.

APO is home to four astronomical telescopes. The ARC 3.5-meter telescope is a general purpose telescope used by ARC partners for a wide range of astronomical research.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) 2.5-meter telescope is dedicated to digital imaging of one-quarter of the entire sky in five colors, with follow-up spectroscopy of a million galaxies plus additional quasar and stellar targets. The SDSS partnership includes NMSU and most of the ARC partners, as well as several other prominent international institutions. SDSS includes a small photometric monitoring telescope that provides the photometric calibration for the main survey.

NMSU also operates a 1-meter telescope at APO, used for a variety of imaging research programs.

Klaene is replacing Bruce Gillespie, who is becoming an ARC program administrator. Gillespie will continue to be based at APO, but will be employed by the ARC through consortium member Johns Hopkins University rather than through NMSU, Anderson said.

Klaene joined the APO staff as an observatory engineer in 1991. He previously was lead engineer for flight test instrumentation for McDonnell Aircraft Co., McDonnell Douglas Corp.

He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology at the University of Cincinnati, graduating cum laude.

A resident of High Rolls, N.M., Klaene is chief of the High Rolls Volunteer Fire Department and president of the Otero County Fire Fighters Association. He served as a field coordinator for the New Mexico State Police for 16 years, managing more than 40 search and rescue missions.