Kitt Peak and a Northern Asterism

The U.S. National Science Foundation Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF NOIRLab, is home to twenty optical and two radio telescopes, making it one of the largest collections of astronomical instruments in the northern hemisphere. The two telescopes that can easily be seen here are the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope on the left and the UArizona Bok 2.3-meter Telescope on the right. High in the sky to the right over the Mayall Telescope are the familiar stars of the Big Dipper, an asterism of the larger constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear). This stellar collection is circumpolar, meaning that they are so close to the north celestial pole that they never set below the horizon at most latitudes in the northern hemisphere. They are even in the sky during the day, though they can’t be seen because the direct sunlight is much brighter. The faint glow seen over the Bok telescope is the reflection of sunlight off of interplanetary dust opposite the Sun’s position, known as the Gegenschein.

This photo was taken as part of the recent NOIRLab 2022 Photo Expedition to all the NOIRLab sites. Tomáš Slovinský, the photographer, is a NOIRLab Audiovisual Ambassador. The U.S. National Science Foundation



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Release date:May 15, 2024, noon
Size:12238 x 6498 px

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