Photos of Kitt Peak over 50 years

The images presented here were taken from the collection of photographs taken at Kitt Peak, Cerro Tololo and NOAO since they were created. They were shown at thr 50th Anniversary "Reunion" held in November, 2009. We include them to demonstrate the hard work and variety of activities that have marked the National Astronomy Observatory since its inception.


The images presented on these pages are provided through the facilities of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, unless otherwise noted. If you plan to use any of these images for other than your personal enjoyment please read the conditions of use.

Send corrections to John GLaspey



Construction of the Mayall 4-m telescope at Kitt Peak.


Construction of the dome and buildiing for the Mayall 4-m telescope at Kitt Peak.


Drs. Goldberg, Mayall, and Meinel, the first three Directors of Kitt Peak National Observatory.


AURA Board and KPNO staff on th U of A campus.


Dr. Aden Meinel, founder and first Director of KPNO.


Dr. Helmut Abt, KPNO astronomer.


the completed dome and building of the Mayall 4-m telescope.


Construction of the telescope pier for the 4-m telescope at Kitt peak.


View of domes of Kitt Peak with Baboquivari Mountain in the background.


Dr. Keith Pierce with one of the mirrors of the Solar Telescope.


Dr. Sidney Wolff, former Director of NOAO.


Dr. Aden Meinel with the cassegrain specrograph on the old No. 1 36-inch telescope on Kitt Peak.


The groundbreaking ceremony for the 3.5-m WIYN telescope.


The Hartmann screen for the 3.5-m WIYN primary mirror in the Tucson shop.


Figuring the WIYN 3.5-m primary mirror.


The completed WIYN 3.5-m primary in its cell in the Tucson shops.


Installation of the WIYN 3.5-m primary in the dome on Kitt Peak.


Delivery of the primary mirror cell for the WIYN Telescope.


Construction of the WIYN telescope in the dome on Kitt Peak.


Construction of the WIYN telescope in the dome on Kitt Peak.


Dr. Keith Pierce speaking at the re-dedication of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope on Kitt Peak.


View of the No. 2-36 inch, the No. 1-36 inch, and the PIMA seeing tower on Kitt Peak.


Dr. bill Livingston observing at the Solar Telescope on Kitt Peak.


Silhouette of the U of A Steward Observatory 2.3-m and the KPNO 4-m.


WIYN Board and NOAO staff with the WIYN mirror.


The Maysll telescope dome after sunset.


Deliverying the 150-inch glass blank prior to grinding and poliching.


The 150-inch mirror after aluminizing.


Construction of the Solar telescope tunnel as seen from the heliostat tower.


Early construction of the Solar telescope.


AURA board members at the Solar Telescope construction site.


Silhouette of the McMAth and Vacuum Telescopes before sunrise.


Sac Peak telescope.


Construction of the 4-m telescope.


Coronograph of the Evans Facility at Sac Paek.


The Dunn Solar telescope at Sac Peak.


the early construction road on Kitt Peak.


The mural outside the Visitors Center at Kitt Peak.


The earliest road on Kitt Peak during the site testing period.


Construction of the Blanco 4-m tlescope on Cerror Tololo.


Dr. David Crawford visiting the construction of the building for the No. 2 36-inch telescope on Kitt Peak.


Dome construction for the Blanco 4-m telescope on Cerro Tololo.


Slip-form pouring of the concrete pier for the Mayall 4-m telescope.


The Solar telescopes on Kitt Peak at dusk.


Construction of the building for the Mayall telescope.


Silhouette of domes on Kitt Peak at sunset.


Construction workers and KPNO staff in the early days.


Vistors to Kitt PEak during early days of construction.


Delivery of the glass blank for the Mayall telescope at optics shop in Tucson.


Transporting one of the hexadrons for the Mayall telescope building.


Construction of the outer building for the Mayall telescope.


Drs. Keith Pierce and Bengt Stromgren at the 16-inch telescope during the early construction of Kitt Peak.


Dedication of the Mayall telescope.


Construction of the No. 1 36-inch telescope on Kitt Peak.


Arlo Landolt observing at the first 16-inch on Kitt Peak.


Hexadron delivery at Kitt Peak for the Mayall telescope building.


Visit of Miss Indian America and Miss Papago to Kitt Peak.


Dr. Leo Goldburg.


Dr. Nicolas Mayall observing at the prime focus of the 4-m telescope.


Dedication of the Mayall 4-m telescope.


Governor Williams at the dedication of the Mayall 4-m telescope.


Dedication ceremony for the Mayall 4-m telescope.


Guests inpecting the telescope at the dedication ceremony for the Mayall 4-m telescope.


Construction of the Blanco 4-m telescope at Cerro Tololo.


The summit of Cerro Tololo prior to the construction of the Blanco 4-m.


Construction of the Flexure Test facility at the Tucson facilities of NOAO.


Dedication of the Flexure Test Facility by Dr. Jeremy Mould.


Glynn Pickens retouching negatives in the Photo Lab.


Transporting the primary mirror for the Blanco Telesscope in Chile.


Dr. John Graham at the prime focus of the Blanco 4-m at Cerro Tololo.


Installing components of the 36-inch telescope at Cerro Tololo.


One of the early dorms at Cerro Tololo.


The 36-inch telescope set up for observing at Cerro Tololo before the dome and building were complete.


Digitizing photographic plates.


Jim Breckenridge with the Fourier Transform Spectrometer at the McMath Solar Telescope.


Joe Connelly checking a grating master being ruled.


Bruce Gillespie observing at the Solar Vacuum Telescope.


Transporting the primary mirror for the Blanco 4-m in chile.


Harold Wirth and Norm Cole with the 4-m Fused Silica mirror for the Mayall Telescope in the Optics Shop.


Mike Doe, Don Trumbo, and Jack Harvey working at the top of the Solar Vacuum Telescope on Kitt Peak.


A view of Kitt Peak from the valley floor to the East of the mountain.


Dr. Jack Harvey with the PDS, used for digitizing photographic plates.


Dr. Fred Gillett observing at the 2.1-m telescope.


A lunar laser ranging experiment on the McMath Solar Telescope.


Dr. Bill Livingston at the focus of the McMath Solar Telescope; Charles Slaughter at the console.


Sunset silhouette of Domes.


The Photo Lab staff visiting the WIYN mirror in the Optics Shop.


Installing the louvers on the Mayall dome.


The horseshoe center tube during construction of the Mayall Telescope.


Maintenance work on the Mayall during summer shutdown.


Installation of the ventilation louvers for the Mayall dome.


The aluminizing chamber at Cerro Tololo for the Blanco 4-m primary mirror.


Preparing the Blanco 4-m mirror for aluminizing.


Dr. Aden Meinel preparing to ride to the summit of Kitt Peak in March, 1956.


Aden Meinel and Harold Thompson on the summit of Kitt Peak, March, 1956, with Baboquivari in the distance.