The Kuiper 61" Telescope
|Focal Length||9.6 meters|
The 61" telescope operated by the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona lies at an elevation of 8230 feet on Mount Bigelow in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, sharing the site with the Catalina Schmidt. It was built in the early 1960's to survey the Moon in preparation for the upcoming lunar spacecraft missions. The site met the dual requirements of fine seeing and easy access from the University (a one-hour drive). The atlas of the Moon thus produced has been called "the finest ground-based photographic lunar survey ever done" by Sky & Telescope magazine. The 61" is dear to present-day observers for its fine optics as well as its cozy dormitory reminiscent of a ski lodge and the spectacular views it offers. Astronomers from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University compete for observing time on the telescope. The telescope has an f/13.5 secondary for observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths (10 arcsec/mm) with a 2kx2k CCD and a 256x256 2MASS camera. An f/45 secondary is available for other near-IR instruments (3 arcsec/mm). The f/45 secondary is small enough to allow rapid guiding without vibrating the spiders.