Monday, February 15, 2010

Kitt Peak

On the way to Ajo for the Fiddler's Convention, we stopped in Tucson overnight so I could go to Kitt Peak.
You can sign up for guided tours at the visitor center.

They were offering solar viewing the day we were there. They have the largest solar observatory in the world. This is only the part above ground. There is almost twice that distance below ground.

This is where the solar light beams enter using a 2 meter flat mirror.

The beam is directed 135 meters below to a 1.6 meter concave mirror.

The beam is returned to this 1.5 flat mirror where it is beamed down to an observing room below. To keep distortion to a minimum, they keep the interior of the observatory the same temperature as outside.

There are a total of 28 telescopes located on Kitt Peak. Most are owned and operated, sometimes remotely from places such as Kentucky, by various universities.

They even have a listening observation facility, listening for sounds from outer space.

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