Kitt Peak National Observatory (NOAO)

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Got out of Tucson again and went up the Quinlan Mountains, at almost 7K feet the temps where ideal for exploring. Interesting place to say the least even if ones not into gazing skyward. The unique thing about this place other than being the largest in the Northern Hemisphere with 22 optical and two radio telescopes is they also operate during the day studying the Sun with the larges solar telescope in the world known as the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. Although we only had access to one telescope it was still worth the 80+ mile road trip.

The Quinlan's are very fractured and crumbly mountains. I noticed many bolts along the way up and increasing in number as we got closer to the summit.
Drilling those holes must have been interesting, I understand some are 14' deepo_O.
Almost there.
This is the closest group of structures found on the hill, The rest are spread out.
The largest solar telescope in the world. The descending portion goes underground a fair distance.
It has rails allowing the lower mirror to be adjusted for focusing.
Most of these structures are spread out. This view is from a different telescope's perch looking to the SE.
Same perch looking to the West.
The only telescope open to the public without appointment is this 2.1M (fourth largest on the mountain).
The center mass weighing in around 3K lbs.
A SW view from the road.
Monsoon season, here's a great example of a rain shaft that developed in the South heading towards Tucson.
Yeah I was heading down by then.:)
For anyone interested in further reading about Kitt Peak here's a link:

I hope to dispel the notion that living in the desert has limited things to offer. Many folks complain about the heat but with proper preparation and conditioning, the desert truly is magnificent.

In closing, I'll share some departing shots of a desert tortoise drinking water from a previous monsoonal down poor.
This was taken about two weeks ago in the Rincon mountains about 10 min to the trail head from our home. The 1.2 mile vertical hike was nice and I was home by 9 am to mow the lawn and get some work done in the shop.

Pools on the rocks make for a great drinking source for the desert dwellers . Rincon Peak is visible to the right just left of Ocotillo.
Made a friend with this cool dude.
Decent size fellow.
A view to the East.
Enjoy your Sunday!


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Thanks for taking the time to post pictures..looks nice there.


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Mar 25, 2013
Very cool. I will put it on the list.
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