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Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy

Tomorrow, We See Farther

Astronomers admit that our map of the known universe has many blank spots. There are vast areas of space that are still a mystery. That’s about to change.

Dark Skies, Bright Future

Arizona became an astronomy hub a century ago because of its clear, dark skies. Settlements were small, remote mountaintops plentiful, and clouds rare. Even today, the state gets up to nine months a year of near-perfect conditions for night sky observations.

The Age of the Giant Telescope

Every few years, a new telescope is proclaimed to be the “world’s largest.” The race is on to build instruments that see farther into the heavens and explain more of the unknown universe.

A Century of Stargazing

How did Arizona get to be America’s epicenter of astronomy? Part of it was pure happenstance. But Arizona’s notoriously clear and dark skies also played a role.

The Popular Science of Public Observatories

Astronomy is becoming a huge hobby for everyday people. Public viewing programs at observatories are booked months in advance. People want to see what the professional stargazers are seeing. It’s part of the ongoing democratization of astronomy.

Stories From the Archives

Making Mirrors

Making Mirrors

It takes many years to cast a large telescope mirror at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. But the race to build an ever-larger celestial “eye” is leading to new discoveries in astronomy.

Re-enacting the Civil War in the Southwest

Re-enacting the Civil War in the Southwest

The Battle of Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862 was the western-most engagement of the Civil War. Some say it was just a “skirmish,” but each year it’s brought back to life a dedicated group of re-enactors.

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