Kitt Peak National Observatory
I drove up to the observatory here. Took about a hour and a half from where I live. I made it to the bottom of the mountain safely then it was a crazy 12 mile drive up the mountain. Anxiety set in quickly! I looked to the right and saw how high up I was and said, “Oh NO!…keep your eyes on the road and look at nothing else!” The air is already thin up there so I took slow, deep breathes so I didn’t start having a panic attack. Luckily, they had sidebars most of the way up and there were cars behind me…I was the leader.
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I just kept wondering when the drive would be over. I think it took another 30 minutes to make the drive up going about 20 miles per hour. I finally made it up there and let out a sigh of relief. The anxiety had me hot and sweating. Plus they told me to dress warmly because it’s colder up there and it was such a hot, beautiful night, it wasn’t even cold! I’m out here bringing two sweaters, Bearpaw boots, and thermals under my pants. I survived though…went straight home and took a shower.
They provided us a “dinner”…sandwich, chips, water, and two bars I believe. I just ate the snacks as I’m not a low quality sandwich person. Then we headed up to watch the sunset and talk about the place and telescopes. The sunset was beautiful but nothing compares to watching it over the ocean.
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Next we split into two groups and one went star gazing while the other looked through the telescope. I looked through the telescope first…YAY! We looked at Mars, Saturn, and groups of stars. It was really amazing, especially seeing the rings around Saturn. Next up was star gazing with binoculars. I thought it was pretty cool that you can see things in the sky with binoculars. I LOVED looking at the Milky Way. I actually saw something fly across the sky…aliens? Lady told me it was a satellite, but who knows? I wish I could have pictures of the things I saw but that’s a much more expensive program.
Lastly, was coming back down the mountain. They covered our headlights because you can’t have lights shining near an observatory. It might mess up a perfect shot of something in the sky. So had to drive down in complete darkness following each other. Oh I was scared! I got too far away from the car in front me a few times and just about died on the inside. You basically had to keep flashing your break lights otherwise you couldn’t see a thing. And for the record they say red light does not pick up as easily as white light. We drove like that for a mile then they took the patches off our lights and we were free to go. It was more fun bending the corners coming down.
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All in all it was definitely worth it. I went all by myself and had fun. I’ll have to get me a pair of binoculars to go star gazing one day in the jungle. The sky is really interesting.
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