Big telescope and big Moon (photo)

The presented image was taken in the vicinity of the Kitt Peak National Observatory. It shows the Moon rising against the background of the 4-meter Nicholas Mayall telescope.

Moonrise over Kitt Peak Observatory. Source: M. Hunt/KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

Kitt Peak National Observatory is located in the Sonora Desert in Arizona. It was founded in 1958. During its existence, the observatory has made a number of important finds. Among them are the discovery of methane ice on Pluto and the discovery of the trans-Neptunian object Varuna.

The largest of all the telescopes of the National Observatory is the 4-meter Nicholas Mayall Telescope, which saw its first light in 1973. At that time, it was ranked second in the list of the largest optical telescopes on the planet. In 2019, the DESI instrument was installed on the telescope. It is designed to obtain spectra of millions of galaxies and quasars. This data will help create a detailed three-dimensional map of the Universe, which will help shed light on the nature and influence of mysterious dark energy.

In the summer of 2022, the observatory suffered from forest fires. The fire did not damage the telescopes themselves, but caused damage to the associated infrastructure, destroying several buildings.

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