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Picture of the Day

New chapter begins for Kitt Peak telescope

A new chapter opens today in the history of the 4-m Mayall telescope, the largest aperture telescope at the National Science Foundation's Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO). Having completed its first 45-year-long assignment, the telescope is now poised to embark on a new mission: creating the largest 3-D map of the cosmos to date. The map will help astronomers chart out the role of dark energy in the expansion history of the Universe. When the Mayall first opened its eye to the sky 45 years ago, it was one of the largest optical telescopes in existence. Designed to be versatile, its mission was to assist astronomers in addressing the wide diversity of astronomical questions facing the field. Tremendously successful, it played an important role in many astronomical discoveries, such as establishing the role of dark matter in the Universe from measurements of galaxy rotation and determining the scale and structure of the Universe.

Visit Website | Image credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF