Posted by: Terra the Terrestrial Tiger | August 9, 2012

Tigers welcome at Kitt Peak (Tour of the Southwest Part 1)

Hi guys!

Terra sitting on an actual asteroid at the KPNO museum. Everyone gets to touch it!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Terra the Terrestrial Tiger and my friends took me on a trip with the graduate astronomy class.

I have been bursting with excitement since I started traveling. Who knew the graduate students were so much fun? Oh right – DSBK lovers did! Well, I can’t wait to tell you all about my big trip to the American Southwest. It was days of traveling, touring, telescopes, time observing, and tigers. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get any better than that!

First we went to KPNO which stands for Kitt Peak National Observatory. We got to see the National Solar Observatory (NSO)

Joanna and Terra inside the solar telescope at the National Solar Observatory.

and two NOAO telescopes: the Mayall 4-meter telescope and the WIYN telescope.

When the Mayall telescope is actually in use, part of the walls open up and the entire outer edge of the building can spin so that the telescope can point anywhere in the sky.

Kim gazing up in wonder at the impressive Mayall 4m telescope, with Terra doing the same.

Our whole class got to ride on the edge when the building spun! It was really fun, like a really, really big spinning tea cup ride at Disney.

The Astronomy graduate students and Terra learning about the Mayall Telescope, all lined up around the outside getting ready for it to spin around that red line on the floor!

But that was nothing next to the actual telescope. See me, Kim, and our friend Joanna sitting at the bottom of the Mayall telescope?

Kim, Joanna, and Terra pretending to be the instruments on the Mayall telescope! Sitting underneath the mirror in the basket..

That is where all the instruments go so that the astronomers can collect their data. It was so cool to climb in there, and then I got to end the tour by visiting the control room!

Terra takes control of the control room for the Mayall telescope at KPNO.

Much more to tell you all about later…

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