Last updated: 15 November 2002
On 8 November 2002, my wife, Laurraine, and I had the opportunity to visit the Kitt Peak National Observatory courtesy of the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences (my alma mater).
Besides the normal public tour during the day, we also got a special visit to the WIYN telescope at night. WIYN = Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO. NOAO = National Optical Astronomy Observatory. The highlight, following an on-and-off cloudy day with a beautiful sunset, was looking through the WIYN 3.5m telescope (yes, I said "meter"; that's a 138-inch or 11.5-foot telescope!). It rather put my Mighty ETX to shame! We looked at several planetary nebulae (most of which nearly filled the field of view of the 2" 50mm eyepiece we were using), a few edge-on galaxies (dust lanes clearly visible), and some star clusters. With such a large aperture (and therefore a LOT of light-gathering power), the nebulae and galaxies were very bright to the eye.
Thanks to Jeff Stuckey of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Kent Honeycutt (who was one of my astronomy professors at IU when I was an undergraduate), and the WIYN staff for a memorable experience!
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