Before leaving Tucson, we had a few things we needed to do. The night viewing of the stars and planets at Kitt Peak was one of them. It is still an active observatory with several universities with grad students working here.
The eleven miles up the mountain to the observatory way up there at 7000 ft.
We arrived by 5:10 which is the time set depending on the sunset. After feeding us a pitiful turkey sandwich, we headed out to watch the sunset and moonrise.
The sunset actually sets 8 minutes before we see it. The dust and clouds in the sky made a very nice sunset.
The sunset in front then we turned around to see the moon coming up.
These were actually the telescopes we looked through.
They shared with us about how the stars were used as the first calendars and the ancient Greeks and Romans would forecast the monsoons arriving with the stars. Also how binary stars rotate and those of greater mass burn out more quickly than those of less mass. Much was pretty basic but that was a good start for us.
We returned to the visitor's center and split into groups. Half went to the telescopes and half to learn about identifying the 88 constellations. We learned how to use a viewing wheel and then went outside with binoculars. I think that was my favorite part. Then we switched places and went into use the telescopes.
It was quite chilly on the mountain with the wind blowing after dark. Then we went in to the big telescope and looked at Jupiter and it's moons and rings, the moon and its craters and other blue and red stars.
You hear how the lighting changes the pictures a person takes and different times of the day provides a different picture. I can see how true that is with the progression of the photos we took throughout the evening.
Our headlights had to be covered for the first mile down the mountain to prevent light pollution when we left at 10 pm since this is an active observatory.
The next thing on the to do list was to spend some family time since Krista and Luke were in Arizona.
Kyle above and Tyler in the pool.
I haven't had a lot of time to spend with Sandy and her family over the years. We got together several time over the past few weeks.
We have been in the desert for several months and are looking forward to our next adventures. Often when we think we have everything planned out something changes. That is part of what makes this nomadic life so interesting. We will keep you posted as plans unfold.