Steward Observatory employs over 300 people, including roughly 100 Ph.D. astronomers and 40 graduate students.
Steward Observatory includes several large research groups. The Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics is at the forefront of developments in adaptive optics. The infrared group built the NICMOS instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope and the MIPS instrument for the Spitzer Space Telescope. In addition, Steward's Mirror Laboratory, located on the east side of Arizona Stadium, has pioneered new techniques of large mirror production, including spin-casting lightweight, honeycomb mirrors. The Mirror Laboratory completed the second mirror for the Large Binocular Telescope in September, 2005. The Mirror Lab is currently building a prototype off-axis 8.4 meter mirror for the proposed Giant Magellan Telescope; the GMT design calls for 7 mirrors, 6 of them off-axis, creating an effective aperture of 21.4 meter.