Oracle Dark Skies Committee visits
Mt Lemmon Observatory
Posted: 22 May 2015
On Thursday, 21 May 2015, the Oracle Dark Skies Committee had a very special visit to Mt Lemmon Observatory and the SkyCenter as the guests of Steve Larson from the Catalina Sky Survery in recognition of the Committee's work to preserve the dark night sky in southern Arizona.
The sky was cloudy for most of the day, but as we began our drive up the mountain the sky began to clear up and it remained clear for our entire visit. Here is Steve (center) greeting some members of the Committee outside one of the domes on the mountain (elevation 9157'):
We then went to the SkyCenter for an excellent talk by Adam Block on the public outreach and scientific research they do:
We then headed out to the domes:
The view to the east looking out over the San Pedro river valley was awesome:
We then spent some time at the SkyCenter Schulman Telescope (32"):
Here is Adam Block removing the astrophotography imager from the telescope before adding the eyepiece through which we would be looking at a few objects:
A Committee member viewing the star Procyon through the telescope:
We then viewed the planet Jupiter before the sun set at Mt Lemmon. Here's the view in the eyepiece as photographed using a handheld D7200 DSLR:
The telescope was then slewed to the crescent Moon, seen through the dome slit, near the top in this photo:
This handheld iPhone photo shows the view of the Moon in the 32" telescope:
As we left the SkyCenter telescope to go to another telescope, we were provided with this gorgeous view towards the west shortly after sunset:
The next telescope we visited was the Catalina Sky Survey 40", one of the two telescopes on the mountain used for Near Earth Object (NEO; asteroid) detection:
We then walked towards the other Sky Survey telescope, but first we enjoyed the view from the mountain top. This is part of the town of Oracle, north of Mt Lemmon and 11 miles away, with the Ford Dealership at the left and the Circle K at the right:
This is the western sky with the crescent Moon and Venus at the top:
Here is the Catalina Sky Survey 60" telescope:
Our final stop for the night was the control room for the Catalina Sky Survey. Here is Rose Matheny demonstrating how she uses the telescopes in the search for NEOs that might endanger planet Earth:
The members of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee who were able to attend send their thanks to Mt Lemmon Observatory Catalina Sky Survey and the SkyCenter and to our hosts Steve Larson and Adam Block for this very special opportunity. It was an absolutely enjoyable visit.
Go to the ODSC Home Page.
Go Weasner's Observatory Visits page.