Astronomy is becoming huge with everyday people. Observatories with public viewing programs are booked months in advance. People want to see what the professionals are seeing. It’s all part of the democratization of astronomy.
It’s a sea change from the days when only scientists and their patrons could look through large telescopes. Some call it “the democratization of astronomy.”
Scientists are still making important discoveries at the largest research telescopes. But now, the public can share in the sense of discovery. And both the professionals and amateurs have similar reasons for casting their eyes skyward.
In part one of Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy, we’ll look at the growing popularity of public viewing programs at Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center, both in southern Arizona.
Astronomy is big in Arizona, as a science, a business, and a popular attraction.
Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy is an audio documentary series looking at the state’s past, present, and future of professional and amateur stargazing.
We explore how the state became the vibrant epicenter for science and how its observatories have made groundbreaking discoveries. Along the way, we visit most of the significant mountaintop observatories in Arizona. At the time of our visit, one was the largest telescope on the planet.
We also learn how the next generation of massive telescope mirrors will bring discoveries.
Collecting Light: An Exploration of Arizona Astronomy is a 5-part series. See a gallery of photos from the series here. Listen to the other episodes now: