The Kitt Peak Virtual Tour




Mayall Menu
Fact Sheet
Home Page
Photo Album
Schematic Diagram
Science Highlights
Web Resources
Originally designed with a prime focus, a wide-field Ritchey-Chrétien (RC) focus, and a coudé focus, the Mayall Telescope has hosted a wide variety of instrumentation from the original prime focus photographic camera to modern digital imagers. Spectroscopic instrumentation has included the RC and Echelle spectrographs, the Cryogenic Camera, and the innovative Fourier Transform Spectrometer. Powerful infrared instrumentation has included the high resolution Phoenix spectrometer and the diffraction limited imager DLIRIM, as well as many other instruments.

The Mayall Telescope has a 4-meter, or 158 inch, primary mirror.

The blue "horseshoe" equatorial mounting supports and moves the telescope. Older photographs show the telescope with a yellow yoke. The mount rotates east to west to track the earth's rotation at a compensated speed. Weighing 300 tons, the mounting turns upon 8 hydrostatic bearings with a film of oil only 0.004 inches thick.

The 4-meter Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile is a twin of the Mayall.

The NOAO CCD Mosaic imager is a wide field imager composed of an array of eight CCD silicon chips. The light gathered by the arrayed chips is read simultaneously to produce a square composite image about 5 inches on an edge.  

The Fourier Transform Spectrograph was an early, yet innovative, infrared spectrograph used at the Mayall 4-meter telescope.

Infrared radiation has a longer wavelength than visible light and cannot be perceived by humans, yet from the FTS control room researchers separate this type of light into a spectrum for investigation.

The Mayall Telescope is a reflector, not refractor, telescope. That means a series of curved mirrors rather than lenses focus light into an image.

The 4-meter mirror is a solid piece of quart glass ground into a parabolic, or concave, shape. The secondary mirror's shape is convex or hyperbolic, opposite that of the primary.

In a Cassegrain telescope, the secondary mirror reflects light through a hole in the center of the main, objective mirror where the image is formed. Here, attached to the bottom of the telescope will be a light detector, an electronic camera, or a spectrograph.

This arrangement of mirrors is named for its inventor, 18th century French optician Guillame Cassegrain.





Factors that will determine an astronomer's salary include formal education and work experience.


How much money do astronomers make?

Click here for the answer.


Home ]    [ Tour Itinerary ]    [ Clickable Map ]    [ Aerial View ]    [ Web Resources ]

NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The Kitt Peak Virtual Tour is developed and maintained by the NOAO Educational Outreach Office.

Copyright © 1999 The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.