Posted: 30 October 2010
On 29 October 2010, my wife, Laurraine, and I, along with several alumni and staff from Indiana University, had the opportunity for a special visit to the Kitt Peak National Observatory, courtesy of the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences (my alma mater). For some of us (like Laurraine and me), this was our sixth special visit! For others, it was their first time at Kitt Peak. We first got a "behind-the-scenes" look at the Mayall 4-meter telescope. We then had dinner, catered by a Native American from the local Tohono O'odham Nation. Following dinner, we went to the catwalk around the 2.1-meter telescope dome to view the sunset. We capped off the night by viewing several objects through the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope (yes, the telescope has an 138-inch diameter mirror!) prior to the start of formal research by the staff and astronomers.
What follows are some of the 139 photographs I took during the visit to Kitt Peak. I used my new Nikon D7000 DSLR camera. I just received it 5 days earlier so I was still learning to use it. Hope you enjoy the pictures.
And now for some unique images I was able to capture with the D7000 DSLR from inside the darkened dome. These were all hand-held, with slow shutter speeds at very high ISO settings.
During the night, we were able to view the following objects through the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope:
M11, Open Star Cluster
M15, Globular Star Cluster
M57, the Ring Nebula
NGC 891, Edge-on Galaxy
NGC 6826, Blinking Nebula
NGC 7662, Blue Snowball
NGC 7009, Saturn Nebula
At the end of the night, we had some snacks provided by Jeff Stuckey, who made this special visit to WIYN happen (that's Jeff in the red in the photo below).
Many thanks to Jeff, the Dean, and of course, a special thanks to the IU Astronomy Department and WIYN Staff for allowing us to have a very special night at the 3.5-meter telescope.
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