View Full Version : Can naybody tell me what Kitt Peak telescope this is?

2009-Jul-23, 07:01 PM
I took this photo in 1999. I cannot remember which telescope it is. I took it at Kitt Peak Observatory

2009-Jul-23, 07:13 PM
That's the 2.1 meter.

2009-Jul-23, 07:17 PM
Do you have more information?

Tobin Dax
2009-Jul-23, 08:10 PM
I'm not sure what information you want, but a quick Google search yielded a bunch of useful links. This is the first one. (http://www.noao.edu/kpno/40th/2.1m.html)

2009-Jul-23, 09:06 PM
That link worked fine. Thanks. I went to Kitt Peak in the summer of '99 on a college class tour. The 2.1 meter telescope was the only one we were able to see. The Mayall was under renovation at that time.

2009-Jul-25, 05:23 AM
That is the 2.1m. Here's the detailed specs (http://www-kpno.kpno.noao.edu/kpno-misc/2m_params.html), and the page from KPNO's guided tour info (http://www.noao.edu/outreach/kptour/2_1_m.html). It's still in good working condition, and is used for research.

2009-Aug-12, 07:42 PM
When I went there it was the only telescope, besides the Mayall Solar Telescope, that we were able to see up close. I was able to go into the Mayall tunnel. But all of the other observatories on site were not open to us.

We had a better reception at Palomar, where Jean Mueller took us all over the 200 inch Hale telescope. What helped was that our instructor was her former professor.

2009-Aug-12, 08:15 PM
When I went there it was the only telescope, besides the Mayall Solar Telescope, that we were able to see up close. I was able to go into the Mayall tunnel. But all of the other observatories on site were not open to us.

Part of the reason is that most of the telescopes on site are privately owned (by universities or non-NOAO consortia), and thus not open to the public. The 4m Mayall is typically also open for tours these days.

I don't know if they had the Night Observing Program (http://www.noao.edu/outreach/nop/) when you were there, but it seemed pretty popular. And the view (even though I only looked for a minute or so) through the 20" RC by the visitor's center was amazing.

thoth II
2009-Aug-12, 08:20 PM
I was there in 2006. I made a powerpoint and excerpts what I learned below. This is the 2.1 m scope and the 4 meter Mayall scope is the other one they take the public into. The really neat one on Kitt peak is the WIYN, but that is research only.

This telescope is 2.1 meters (82”) in aperture diameter and was
constructed in 1963. It is used for imaging and spectroscopy.
It operates with an RC Cassegrain focus and also a Coude focus.
The RC focus is frequently used with the Phoenix IR spectrograph.
The mirrors on this and other scopes on the mountain are coated
with an Aluminum “spray paint” only 1/1000 the width of a human
hair. This coating is completed stripped off and “repainted” in
a vacuum chamber every 2 years, involving large construction
cranes. During our field trip, we saw a few cranes lumbering up
the mountain enroute to a maintenance job at one of the telescopes.

The 2.1 meter telescope also has an adjacent external Coude
Tower coupled with a separate 0.9 m mirror housed in a
rectangular shed. This allows spectroscopic work to be
conducted at the same time as the normal work is progressing
on the 2.1 m scope. So the 2.1 m scope is a dual observing
facility. A separate system feeds light to the Coude Spectrograph
housed in the Tower.

2009-Aug-12, 08:22 PM
The night observing program did not exist at that time; it was the summer of 1999.

I used to operate the 24 and the 16 inch telescopes at Mount Wilson Observatory. Latest news is that they are planning on moving the 16 inch and the 6 inch Brashear refractor off site to a new visitor center, similar to what KPNO did.

I think the MWO plan is a waste of money, due to the fact it was difficult to get clients to view through the 16 inch when we ran it on site next to the 60 inch.

KPNO is a glittering masterpiece compared to MWO, which is very long in the tooth.

thoth II
2009-Aug-12, 08:25 PM
KPNO is a glittering masterpiece compared to MWO, which is very long in the tooth.

Probably true. But I think it is great you were able to work at Mt. Wilson because that is where Hubble worked.

Kitt Peak was the greatest site I ever visited.

2009-Aug-12, 08:35 PM
Well, it was kind of spooky sometimes. Most of the turn of the century technology is still in use there. I used to bunk out in Room 1 at the monastery, and it had a 1920 era desk fan. I once found a 1930s rotary telephone at the 60 foot solar tower that was stuck in a corner. It was all metal and was very heavy.

Even where I last worked, at the 16 inch dome, nobody ever changed the calendar inside the storage cabinet:

I have many more photos. I worked there from 1998 to 2007.

2009-Aug-12, 09:52 PM
That's a cool calendar. Did the rotary phone work? What were your operator duties on the 24" and 16"? Please share some more photos!

The visitor's center at KPNO and the 20" RC are both on site, roughly in the middle of the peak. They have "convoys" of people come out for the public observing sessions. Apparently people have used the observing nights for marriage proposals, birthday parties and even a wedding or two.

Since the 2.1m was constructed in the 1960's, the control room doesn't have the same kind of antiquities as MWO, but there were a few gems.

We figured that every year or two, someone added a new "annotation" to the map; we obliged and made one a small addition. I think the map was dated sometime in the late 60s, early 70s, and some of the roads have changed since then. This is on the wall right behind the control computers, so it's kinda prominent.

We don't know what the electronics were for, but they weren't plugged into anything. There were several such racks like that. The "serviced" date was 1977. The notes pencilled all over were rather curious, though...

2009-Aug-13, 01:09 AM
I was one of twelve operators on the 24 inch TIE Cole Telescope from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2007 I was one of ten operators of the 16 inch, which is the original Meade prototype pre-production 16 inch LX200. For three months in 2007 I trained as a "data analyst" (operator) at the 60 foot Solar Tower. The 60 foot solar tower had more abandoned equipment than operational equipment. The budget was so tight that they could not afford to dispose of old experiment racks and they were abandoned in place. At one point there was no money budgeted for the next fiscal year, so I bailed out. No job security. There were interpersonal problems too with the other data analyst.

Hindsight is 20/20. The best most fulfilling position I held there was at the 24 inch, but alas it ran out of funding in 2004.

The 16 inch program, in retrospect, was an abject failure since it did not draw clients like the 60 inch does. Too bad, because it was a good scope.

A lot of the so-called "historical" artifacts at MWO are obvious fakes, see attached images of "Edwin Hubble's Locker". It is obviously faked because plastic impression labels were not invented until the 1960s. There is an old wooden chair on a platform at the 100 inch that is "Hubble's Chair", but chairs like that were ubiquitous all over the observatory and there is no proof that he ever used it.

A lot of this stuff was done to impress modern-day visitors to the place, so it was done with good intentions. These people pay big bucks to look through the 60 inch telescope and it is a cash cow for the observatory.

The rotary phone was dead.

The vast amount of monetary resources going into MWO go into the prestigious CHARA array. The other tenants up there run on a shoestring and are hanging on just barely, financially

It is rather depressing, in retrospect. Some of the buildings on site are so dilapidated from age and maintenance neglect that if the housing authorities saw then they would declare them unfit for human occupancy.

2009-Aug-13, 03:12 AM
Huh... It's too bad that so much of the public stuff at MWO is falling apart. One of the things I was most impressed about at KPNO was how nice the buildings were. And the visitor's center appears to be quite new and well built.

Does MWO just not have enough visitors to warrant upkeep? I would think they could get more than Kitt Peak, since it is close to LA. Have buildings been designated historic sites? That might be one way to improve the maintenance situation.

On the other hand, NOAO isn't exactly rolling in cash. Some of the scientific instrumentation at KPNO is in need of an update, and they have just enough money to keep up on maintenance, let alone upgrade and replace parts.

I forgot CHARA was up on MWO: it is quite a nifty instrument. The way of the future, in a sense.

2009-Aug-13, 03:16 AM
One more note: I was wondering about the TIE Cole telescope, and this post (http://www.astronomyforum.net/amateur-astronomy-forum/33202-tie-24-inch-cole-telescope-final-light.html) was the first thing to come up in a search.

What happened to the equipment?

2009-Aug-13, 03:17 PM
It is in Colorado (http://www.starkids.org/LTO%2024inch%20Telescope%20Press%20Release.htm)

thoth II
2009-Aug-14, 05:31 PM
One of the things I was most impressed about at KPNO was how nice the buildings were. And the visitor's center appears to be quite new and well built.


When I was at Kitt Peak's visitor center in 2006, they had a type of clock I never saw before and was really impressed with. It showed a mercator projection of the earth, and you could see at this minute what parts of earth were in shadow (nighttime) and which were in daylight .

They also had a great display of mock mirrors of various diameters from small to large , and a guided tour by a volunteer docent . Hey, maybe when I retire in 2013, I'll go out there and volunteer my time as a docent, so you might see me out there someday. Sounds like a good retirement plan.

2009-Aug-14, 05:45 PM
An identical clock is located in the headquarters of the Carnagie Observatories in Pasadena, CA. They are quite expensive.