Whipple Observatory Tour

I finally got all the way up the mountain yesterday to see the Multiple-Mirror Telescope (MMT) and all the other telescopes on Mount Hopkins.

White-tailed deer from the bus

White-tailed deer from the bus

We visited the smaller telescopes first, the favourite being the Whipple 10-metre – the Granddaddy of all gamma ray telescopes. It’s a pretty cool picture when you’re at the 2f (double the focal length) point:

Look at me! I'm about 5 metres big!

Look at me! I'm about 5 metres big!

The MMT (now no longer multiple-mirror – just one single huge 6.5 metre one) is housed in a five-storey building on the top of Mount Hopkins that moves – that’s right – the whole building moves!

MMT, from the 30-degree sloped road leading up to it that is wire-heated in the winter as it's so steep!

MMT, from the 30-degree sloped road leading up to it that is wire-heated in the winter as it's so steep!

I liked the tour a lot, especially as it gave me more context for what W does, though the hardware itself wasn’t exactly my thing. I’ve realised I’m definitely more into the science – and the views from the mountain! The clouds were amazing, with rain sweeping through the valley, shadows on the mountains… Here are my favourite shots:

Cloud on the Mountain

Cloud on the Mountain

Rain and Sun

Rain and Sun

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