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Today, the distinguimelted Kuiper Telescope has actually a smaller neighbor: a 27-inch (68-cm) Schmidt telescope provided by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) to search for near-Earth objects (NEO"s). The CSS consortium operates a 2nd, 1.5-meter telescope at nearby Mount Lemmon and also a 3rd one in Australia. "We found around 70% of all known NEOs," says major investigator Ed Beshore.

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Beshore mirrors me the latest addition to the CSS: a 1-m telescope, likewise at Mount Lemmon, that will certainly be supplied for follow-up observations. It will view first light later on this year. At the same time, plans have actually been drawn up for a a lot bigger, $30,000,000 CSS-II, that would certainly use six 72-inch (1.8-m) mirrors on 3 sepaprice mounts. Says Beshore: "If I have to put Google or Domino Pizza on the side of the telescope , I"ll execute it."


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At Kitt Peak National Observatory, some 45 miles (70 km) southwest of Tucboy, the Spacewatch Project additionally searcs for asteroids and also NEOs. Spacewatch, led by Bob McMillan, offers a 1.8-meter and a 0.9-meter telescope. Asteroid 2005 YU55, a 400-meter chunk of rock that will certainly zip previous the Earth at just 200,000 miles (325,000 km) on November 8th, was uncovered by Spacewatch.

In the Kitt Peak kitchen, I reap a Mexican dinner with McMillan and via Steve Pompea, the public information officer of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), which runs the observatory. Pompea reflects me about most of the telescopes at Kitt Peak, consisting of the slender and also compact 3.5-meter WIYN Observatory and the outstanding McMath-Pierce solar telescope. Never before prior to have I viewed so many type of telescopes on one single hill.


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The 4-meter Mayall Telescope dominates the skyline of the Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Govert Schilling
And I"m even more impressed by the amount of public outreach lugged out at Kitt Peak. Many telescopes have actually viewing galleries for tourists. There"s a great visitor facility through a nice shop. Tbelow are guided tours and also stargazing sessions, utilizing a dedicated 16-inch (40-cm) telescope. Eextremely year, thousands of world discover their way to the beautiful and friendly site, which is dominated by the tall building of the 4-meter Mayall telescope.

Unfortunately, the darkness of Kitt Peak"s night skies is endangered by (slowly increasing) light air pollution — not so a lot from nearby Tucchild, which is pretty astronomy-friendly, yet from remote cities favor Casa Grande and also also from Phoenix. "It"s worrisome," says Pompea.

That evening, at the Sky Bar on fourth Avenue, I marvel at Sarevolve as watched with Robby Tackett"s telescope. Yes, this is somepoint everybody need to check out. And if you"ve never before been to Kitt Peak, don"t wait also long.

Part 2 of this blog, around the MMT Observatory and the Large Binocular Telescope, deserve to be discovered here.


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Tom Hoffelder

May 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

On Thurs 4/28, AAVSO announced a supernova in NGC 3972. This was a chance for amateurs via 8 inch scopes and also larger to check out, on a weekend with no moon, a star that exploded 70 million years back. Instead we gain things prefer this and also shutting dvery own SETI tasks (I understand, that was prior to the SN, however it is relevant). Maybe tbelow is something below about the supernova, yet I have actually not been able to uncover it. Luckily I have actually a frifinish in the AAVSO who told me around it on Thursday. This enabled me and also at leastern 3 various other observers, in enhancement to herself, to view it on the weekfinish. Due to the fact that I live in New England also, Saturday might have actually been my only opportunity through no moon.

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SFGagnon

May 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Once upon a time, Sky and Telescope kept an e-mail notification list for events such as the supernova you mention. Anyone recognize what occurred to it? Getting informed around occasions such as the supernova in NGC 3972 would certainly be advantageous.