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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day 55 - Kitt Peak National Observatory / Door Falls Off Hinge

Today was my visit to Kitt Peak National Observertory.  As I get up early, I generally have to wait for things to open.

This is the place I drove by on the way to Pipe a Organ Cactus National Monument on AZ 86.  It is on the Tohono O'Odoham Indian Nation Land.

I got here at 8:30 so I waited the 30 minutes to drive up the 12 miles to the top.

Up ahead in the road I could see a series of animals crossing.  Get the camera - a bit slow on the draw - I do get one adult wild pig or boar.  There was an adult in front 5 little ones and an adult in the rear.

The picture is grainy due to it being in the  shade  and some distance. then magnify it, although grainy,  but I did get it.

There are many Observatories on top. 

Some guy one handed the left half of this plate glass door odd its hinges.  

Oh my! It was me.  Dang I didn't know I had it in me.  There I was balancing a door only hooked by the closer at the top looking for help.  

The woman attendant comes and says prop it up.  No can do. The closer is pulling it.  I say to her do you have maintence people and she says yes and I said they need to come now.  She tells the other woman and says tell them it's an emergency.

She took over holding it until the maintence people got there in just a few minutes.

The one maintence guy said to the other, "See I told you that this bottoms pin holder was bent and we needed to straighten it yesterday." 

Oh good Brent didn't gorilla it off the hinges after all.

This scale model is a solar telescope that was the first one built after the Indians have permission for research of the heavens in the early 1960's.

I chose this tour as it was the first of the day.  Some people signed up for all 3 tours of the day.  I have been here before but I always learn things so it was nice to come back after so many years.

Our guide has to go through 8 weeks of training to give tours as s volunteer.

We are stopped at a petroglyphs panel framed in glass.

They actually got permission in 1958 from the Indians and money from the National Science Foundation to start building. 

Here is the solar telescope.  It is te largest on earth.  The angle in the ground coincides with the angle Tucson is above the equator.

There are 3 separate mirror systems that track the sun each projects the image on an angle 500 feet underground, then back up and then straight down to observation equipment including spectroscopes.

One large mirror in the middle and two smaller ones, one on each side.

We go down underneath to see where the observation rooms are.  The mirrors are being resurfaced with the reflective aluminum so no work today on research.

They allow professional, amateur, and others to send requests for research.  You get to use the equipment free if your idea is accepted and just pay for your travel expenses. Boy can stay at the guest rooms on top for about $80 per night.  

A few more pictures of the other telescopes.

Check out the senery from the top of the mountain.

On the way down I met many bikers making their way up the 12 miles to the top.

Last year I went to the copper mine here and wrote about it in my 2014 Travels.  Well, yesterday I saw this Tractor trailer hauling the semi pure copper panels.  As I wrote about last year they go to Texas for processing into 99.9% pure where the electricity is cheaper.

Today another truck headed east on I10

Waiting for my end of day shower.  One bag are my change of clothing and the smaller my toiletries.

Black smoke from the Davis-Montham US Airforce Base here.  I am guessing it was fire department training as it stopped as fast as it started.



  1. The last you went to the observatory it was snowing!! Remember???

  2. Yeah and it was probably with Norm too! He took me there.

  3. Yeah and it was probably with Norm too! He took me there.