Images from the KPNO 0.9m Telescope:

Opened in March 1960, the National Science Foundation's 0.9-meter telescope was the first major telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. After 41 years of service to NOAO, operations of the 0.9m were transfered to the WIYN consortium in February 2001. Despite its relatively small aperture, the 0.9m is a popular instrument because of its large field of view. This website recalls the history of the 0.9m, with a virtual tour, a pictoral description of a typical night at the telescope, a gallery of images taken with the 0.9m, and anecdotes from some of the many astronomers who have observed with this remarkable instrument. You may click on any image to see an enlarged version.

A Gallery of Images from the 0.9m:

This page contains a sampling of images taken with the 0.9m telescope. Clicking on an image will take you to the NOAO Image Gallery where you may view and download high-resolution versions of these images. If you are a previous observer of the KPNO 0.9m and have an image you would like to contribute please contact us at

0.9m Telescope

The Moon

The Moon:
This aggrandized image of the moon was taken with the Mosaic CCD camera. The image of the moon is superimposed on a deep R-band image taken of a cluster of galaxies. The image demonstrates the large field of view of the 0.9-meter telescope with Mosaic, a view which is over five times the area of the moon. This large field of view is not at the sacrifice of resolution. Detail as small as a few kilometers in size can be seen on the lunar surface.

0.9m Telescope

Spectra of different types of stars

Stellar Spectroscopy:
In addition to optical imaging, the 0.9-meter has been used extensively for spectroscopic and photometric observations. This image is a color representation of spectra from different types of stars. They were taken from a library of 161 stars observed with the 0.9-meter telescope (Jacoby, Hunter & Christian 1984).

0.9m Telescope

The Trifid Nebula

The Trifid Nebula (M20):
The Trifid Nebula, also known as M20 or NGC 6514, is a familiar sight and an excellent example of an emission and reflection nebula. The red emission nebula contains a bright blue star cluster near its center: it glows red because the ultraviolet light of the stars ionizes the hydrogen gas, which then recombines and emits the characteristic red hydrogen-alpha light. Further out, when the radiation from these hot young stars becomes too weak to ionize hydrogen, the gas and dust instead glows by reflecting the original blue light. M20 is in the constellation of Sagittarius, at a poorly-known distance somewhere between 2200 and 7600 light years.

0.9m Telescope

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble's Variable Nebula (NGC 2261):
This image of Hubble's Variable Nebula in the constellation of Monoceros was taken with the 0.9-meter telescope in March 1995. In this relatively shallow version of the image, the details of the nebula's structure can be seen. It is these details which change, altering its appearance and giving rise to its name. A deeper realization shows fainter features and some of the interesting surroundings.

0.9m Telescope

The Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237):
This stunning emission-line image of the Rosette nebula (NGC 2237) in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn) was taken at the National Science Foundation's 0.9-m telescope on Kitt Peak with the Mosaic camera, and is presented here in false color (hydrogen alpha, OIII oxygen, and SII sulfur respectively red, green and blue, using five ten-minute exposures each). The Rosette is a prominent star formation region, glowing due to ultraviolet light from the young, hot, blue stars whose winds also cleared the central hole. It is enormously large on the sky, covering more than six times the area of the full moon. An approximately true color version at lower resolution from the Schmidt telescope is also available.
0.9m Telescope

The Spiral Galaxy M81

M81: A Spiral Galaxy:
M81, a type Sb spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. This composite color image was created from CCD observations made at the 0.9-meter telescope in late December 1994.
0.9m Telescope

The arrow marks GRB 990123

The Gamma-Ray Burst GRB 990123
The distant galaxy in which GRB 990123 resides, is pointed to by the arrow in this image from the 0.9-meter telescope. Observations of the Gamma-Ray Burster, first detected on 23 January 1999, have contributed to astronomers' understanding of these very unusual, and as yet unexplained, objects. These observations were featured in a NOAO press release.
0.9m Telescope

The globular cluster M9

M9: A Globular Cluster
M9, also known as NGC 6333, is a globular cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus. This globular appears quite small on the sky, as it is one of the ones nearer to the galactic center, but it shows a strong central concentration. About 26000 light years from us, and about 70 light years across, M9 looks quite oval due to strong absorption by dust in the north-west (upper right). Only a dozen or so variable stars are known in M9, relatively few for a cluster of its size. This image was taken with the 0.9-meter telescope in April 1995.
0.9m Telescope

The Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula (M17)
This is a true-color image of the Omega Nebula, also known as M17 and NGC 6618, taken by the 0.9-meter in 1993. M17 is a bright nebula with lanes of opaque dust; it is also referred to as the Swan Nebula and the Horseshoe Nebula. M17 is about 5700 light years away in the direction of Sagittarius, and contains about 800 solar masses of material within its 17-light year diameter.

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