We are currently on our way back across the country to spend a bit of time with my daughter and her family in Atlanta. In the meantime, I wanted to finish up talking about the Tucson area with one final post.
There is so much to see and do in this beautiful area of the country. Earlier we covered the amazing Biosphere 2. This week I wanted to talk a little about Pima Air and Space Museum, the huge aircraft boneyard, Titan Missile Museum and the amazing Kitt Peak National Observatory. All are within a short driving distance of downtown Tucson!
Kitt Peak National Observatory
For those that love the science of observing the stars or those that just love a fantastic scenic view, a drive to Kitt Peak National Observatory is something you should not miss!
Kitt Peak Observatory includes 24 optical and two radio telescopes, and is the largest, most diverse group of astronomical instruments in the world. It sits at 6875 feet above sea level overlooking the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
And talk about an amazing view! The drive from Tucson is a little over an hour and the road up the mountain includes lots of switchbacks and a bit of steepness. But it is very worth the drive.
Kitt Peak was chosen because of it’s high percentage of clear weather, low levels of humidity, and the fact that there is very little light pollution in the area. A perfect place for an observatory!
One of the most interesting structures was the McMath-Pierce telescope. It includes a tower nearly 100 feet high, and a shaft that slants two hundred feet into the ground. The purpose? McMath-Pierce telescope is used to study the sun!
The McMath-Pierce is used to study the structure of sunspots, as well as sunspot spectra. A sunspot is a temporary cool region in the sun’s photosphere. This telescope makes it possible to look directly at the sun.
Kitt Peak is also famous for hosting the first telescope used to search for near-Earth asteroids, and calculating the probability of an impact with planet Earth.