Kitt Peak Observatory
950 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ, USA
Kitt Peak Observatory Tucson Reviews
The Place to see the Galaxy Jan 24, 2010
I decided to drive up to Kitt Peak today after work, normally I have my little pink Sony Camera in my hand bag, in case I see something interesting or eventful. So anyways, I have no photos for this review, I hope my writing will be descriptive enough to inspire you, here we go . . .
The world’s largest collection of optical telescopes is located high above the Sonoran Desert under some of the finest night skies in the world. Kitt Peak, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, is home to twenty-four optical and two radio telescopes representing eight astronomical research institutions. It draws a great many astronomers from all over the world. My friend Tim has always talked about it and tried to tell me about the giant telescopes housed in the giant domes at the peak. These domes house the largest collection of telescopes on one mountain anywhere in the world. If you stay till dusk you can participate in the nightly observing program for a whirlwind tour of the universe beginning with the magnificent sunsets, ending with the view of the galaxies. There are 25 giant telescopes including the massive 4-meter Mayall and the largest solar telescope in the world, it is called the McMath-Pierce. Since it is day time, I was able to join the behind the scenes tour of the scopes guided by one of the observatory docents.
I will plan on returning when my friend Tim is going to work, I was told at night you can get a hands-on introduction to the wonders of space from the lead observing expert here at Kitts Peak. The Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Guided tours are offered three times daily: at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. I joined the 1:30 pm tour, each tour lasts about an hour. Group tours are available by appointment. The three tours a day are divided as follows:
1. 10:00 am. - McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope: The first tour each day is of the world’s largest solar telescope, the McMath-Pierce solar telescope
2. 11:30 am. –. 2.1-m Telescope: Built in 1964, the 2.1-m telescope is still in high demand every night.
3. 1:30 pm. - Mayall 4-m Telescope: This telescope has been a landmark in since 1973, and is easily visible from many points in Tucson. The 4-m is the largest optical telescope on Kitt Peak, and receives 4 times more requests for use than there are clear nights each year. From the Visitor Gallery you have a beautiful 360 degree view of Kitt Peak and surrounding landscape. The tour of the Mayall lasts about 2 hours
June – October: Children pay $3.00 and adults pay $5.75
November – May: Children pay $4.00 and adults pay $7.75
Reservations can be made online for the different time slots, here is the link: http://www.noao.edu/outreach/kpvc/
Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in a comment below.
PS: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
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