The Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy is a non-profit astronomical observatory founded in 1972 and dedicated to research and education in astronomy. It is the first independent professional observatory founded in the 20th century. The offices, library, and shops are located on the Richard W. Hamming Astronomy Center on the old Ft. Ord site near the new California State campus at Monterey Bay. The Astronomy Center includes a main building, electronics and machine shops, and the Bette M. and William R. Weaver Student Observatory.The Institute operates the Oliver Observing Station atop 5000 foot Chews Ridge. The station houses a 36-inch reflecting telescope used for astronomical research. Because of the excellent atmospheric conditions in the Santa Lucia Mountains, the first to intercept the smooth airflow from the Pacific Ocean, and the dark skies of the Los Padres National Forest, the observing conditions are among the best measured in the world.