I saw an ad in Sky & Telescope for an adult astronomy camp being put on by the University of Arizona.
The camp sounded interesting. I contacted Dr. Don McCarthy, the camp coordinator, and got some more information about the camp. The camp sounded interesting so Nancy and I signed up.
May 10, 2013 we arrived at the Marvin D Swede Johnson Building on the campus of the University of Arizona. We met Dr. McCarthy, the 12 other "guest astronomers", and the staff. We had an orientation, introduced ourselves, and received a notebook full of information.
We then boarded vans for a trip to the University of Arizona stadium and the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab.
The Mirror Lab was polishing an 8.4 Meter mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).
This is a picture of the furnace where the glass is melted.
The mirrors have a honeycomb back to reduce weight and cost.
1750 alumina-silica cores are being installed to create the honeycomb.
When the glass has melted and is in a liquid state, the furnace is spun to give the mirror its parabolic shape.
After the Mirror Lab tour, we boarded the vans for a trip to Mount Lemmon.
The Mt. Lemmon Infrared Observatory site is located approximately 45 miles north of the University of Arizona in the Coronado National Forest in the Catalina Mountains.
The facility is at an elevation of 9157 feet.
Mt Lemmon was formerly a Radar Base of the Air Defense Command and was converted into an observatory for infrared astronomy in October 1970.
We were assigned our dorm rooms, which were officer's quarters when the base was operational.
We had a great dinner, prepared by the camp staff. All the food druing the camp was very good.
We watched the sunset, then back into the vans for a short trip to the 61" telescope on Mt Bigelow.
The 61" telescope operated by the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona lies at an elevation of 8230 feet on Mount Bigelow.
It was built in the early 1960's to survey the Moon in preparation for the upcoming lunar spacecraft missions.
The telescope has an f/13.5 secondary for observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths (10 arcsec/mm).
The dome to the right of the 61" is part of the Catalina Sky Survey.
© 2013 Eric Nelson