The Legendary Colorado Orange Apple Returns

The Legendary Colorado Orange Apple Returns

The Colorado Orange apple has been rediscovered after nearly a century. Growers hope to have it available to consumers in the next few years.(Credit: Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project)Imagine an apple so tasty that it invokes fond memories 80 years after it...

An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy

Tomorrow, We See Farther

Astronomers admit that our map of the known universe has a lot of blank spots, a lot of areas we simply know nothing about. The next generation of projects aims to change that.

Dark Skies, Bright Future

Arizona became a center for astronomy in the early 20th century because of its clear, dark skies. The cities were small, remote mountaintops were plentiful, and clouds were rare. The state boasted up to nine months a year of near-perfect conditions for astronomy.

The Age of the Giant Telescope

There’s a new “world’s largest telescope” every few years. It’s become a race to build instruments that see farther into the heavens.

A Century of Stargazing

How did Arizona get to be the epicenter of astronomy in the United States? Part of it was happenstance. But Arizona’s notoriously clear and dark skies played a role, too.

The Popular Science of Public Observatories

Interest in astronomy is increasing. As proof, observatories that have public viewing programs book them months in advance. People want to see what the professional astronomers are seeing in the night sky.

Special Series: Copper at the Crossroads

Copper: The Miracle Metal

Copper: The Miracle Metal

Tucson, Ariz. - I became interested in exploring copper mining in Arizona when I saw several photographs of the Tucson skyline from the 1940s. The images showed a smoky haze hanging in the sky, completely obscuring the view of the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains....

“I’m Not a Miner, I’m a Provider”

“I’m Not a Miner, I’m a Provider”

  Tucson, Ariz. - When the San Manuel Mine northeast of Tucson closed in 1999, it was the largest underground copper mine in the U.S., with more than 2,000 people working in 350+ miles of tunnels and a nearby smelter. The copper market had just gone bust, and...

Some Thrived, Some Died

Some Thrived, Some Died

  Tucson, Ariz. - The names stand out on early maps of the Arizona Territory: Hamlets like Ruby and Silver Bell. Mines named The World's Fair, Old Dominion and The Heavy Weight. But they're not to be found on modern maps of Arizona. When the copper booms of the...

Stories From the Archives

Making Mirrors

Making Mirrors

Tucson, Ariz. - A recipe for how to make a 8.4-meter telescope mirror: Ingredient: About 44,000 pounds of glass chunks. Instructions: Load all glass chunks into 27-foot diameter mold. Place mold in giant spinning oven and set for 5 revolutions-per-minute. Cook for...

“The Kinds of Things He Believed, He Tried to Live…”

“The Kinds of Things He Believed, He Tried to Live…”

Tucson, Ariz. - Longtime Tucsonans remember the area as Prison Camp. From 1939 to 1973, it was the Catalina Federal Prison Camp. The inmates who built the Catalina Highway were the original occupants. Conscientious objectors were also housed there during WW II. Today,...

Re-enacting the Civil War in the Southwest

Re-enacting the Civil War in the Southwest

Picacho Pass, Ariz. - On April 15, 1862, two small groups of Union and Confederate soldiers fought a battle in central Arizona. The engagement left several Union troops dead, including the detachment's commanding officer, and wounded several men on each side. It was...

A Kartchner Caverns Tour With Gary Tenan

A Kartchner Caverns Tour With Gary Tenan

Benson, Ariz. - About 40 miles southeast of Tucson, under the limestone rock of the Whetstone Mountains, lies a vast, living cave called Kartchner Caverns. It was discovered in 1974 by Gary Tenan and Randy Tufts, two amateur cavers from Tucson. A small cleft in the...

Author Byrd Baylor Celebrates the Desert

Author Byrd Baylor Celebrates the Desert

Arivaca, Ariz. - Byrd Baylor's love of the desert serves as both setting and subject for her writing. She's best known for her children's books, mostly set in the Southwest and populated with Native Americans and desert creatures. After years in Tucson writing for...

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