The Kitt Peak National Observatory is not just home to professional telescopes and astronomers, it also has a fully operational outreach program and visitor center. The mandate of the center is to engage with the public, which they do in a variety of ways. They have an informative exhibit in the visitor center, daily tours, daily solar observing (which I wrote about in a previous post), and even night time observing programs. There happen to be a night time observing program for the public on the Saturday of my observing run. Normally, this would not have mattered much as they would observe with their own telescope and then send everyone home; however, there happen to be a lot of clouds this evening. Not only did this mean my colleagues and I couldn’t do any science observing, but the public couldn’t do any recreational observing either. As a result, they were looking for some other fun things to do. I happen to run into the staff organizing the pubic program in the cafeteria before I headed to the telescope to set up for the night and they asked if, should the weather prove cloudy and unusable, we wouldn’t mind giving a quick tour of the Bok ‘scope. I was happy to do so.


Chatting with the public about my research, the telescope, and anything else we could think of. Once a host always a host.

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