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Astronomy Artists Create Artwork in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of our National Observatory

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of our national astronomy observatory, the International Association of Astronomy Artists ( will be present on the mountain to create artwork from October 18-23. The artists welcome interaction with visitors to the observatory.

During that week, the professional space artists intend to generate dozens of new works related to astronomy and the observatory. Various media will include acrylic, oils, pastels, watercolor, graphite and lithographic and/or colored pencils. An example of artwork created by one of the artists, a Tucson resident, is “MIDDAY ON KITT PEAK.” It was painted outdoors on site, May 2009, by astronomer William K. Hartmann (Planetary Science Institute, Tucson).

Three of the nine IAAA attendees are Arizonan space artists. Tucson resident space artists are Dr. William K Hartmann (astronomer and space artist) and Michelle Rouche (aviation and space artist). John Clark (aviation and space artist) hails from the suburbs of Phoenix. Other attendees come from California, Florida, New Hampshire and Quebec, Canada. These nine represent a small available portion of the 130+ international members of astronomical and space artists of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA).

Kitt Peak served as the birthplace of our national observatories. By the early 1960s, the National Observatory had begun building roads and telescopes on Kitt Peak as well as a headquarters in Tucson. During its first 50 years Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) helped change our understanding of the universe, advanced telescope and instrument operations and design, and trained a large fraction of the astronomy community. KPNO continues to be an active and vital observatory in the U.S. System that began at Kitt Peak with the landmark concept of a national observatory open to all astronomers based on the merit of their scientific proposals.

About IAAA

Exploring the territory where science and art overlap, a firm foundation of knowledge and research is the basis for each painting. Striving to accurately depict scenes which are at present beyond the range of human eyes, they communicate a binding dream of adventure and exploration. IAAA was incorporated in 1989 as a 501(c)-3 [art] and a 509(a)-2 [educational public benefit] entity.

About Kitt Peak and NOAO

Featuring the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes Kitt Peak National Observatory is located fifty-six miles southwest of Tucson, in the Schuk Toak District on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), was founded in 1958. The Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is a non-profit educational organization. The visitor center uses earned income and donations to support its operation. There is no fee for admission to the visitor center; three daily docent-led tours of the
major telescopes are offered for a fee.

For more information about this event, media inquiries should be directed to Elizabeth Alvarez at (520) 318-8414. Members of the public should call 520-318-8726 or visit the Kitt Peak Public Programs webpage for information about programs and visiting Kitt Peak:

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NOAO is the national center for ground-based nighttime astronomy in the United States and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. If you would like information about solar astronomy, visit the National Solar Observatory. If you would like information about radio astronomy, visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory

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