Thursday, October 15, 2009

Telescope Tourist

I confess that I enjoy visiting other observatories. I just finished a visit to McDonald Observatory in Texas. While I was there I had the chance to check out their impressive public outreach program and their three largest research telescopes. That's me above with their 82-inch Otto Struve Telescope. I was hoping to get some eyepiece time with that instrument, but the weather had other ideas.

Below is the 107-inch Harlan J. Smith Telescope:

Their largest research instrument is the impressive Hobby-Eberly Telescope:

The HET is also an extremely difficult telescope to photograph. My wide-angle lens was challenged by its size. The telescope's giant 11.1 x 9.8 meter segmented mirror, the largest ever built, blends into silver geodesic dome. Be sure to click to enlarge the photo to make it stand out.

I have now had the pleasure to visit seven telescopes larger than the Hale Telescope at Palomar. Each one is impressive in its own way, none have the grandeur of the 200".

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