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Fred Whipple Visitor Center Part 1
Kurt Erichsen in front of an Eastern Red

Favorite Place #2 in Arizona for us is the Fred Whipple Visitor Center.


With the lateness of this post, let me simply summarize that he was an important enough astronomer, specializing in comets, to have a visitor center named after him. The visitor center/museum is definitely an after thought. The exhibits look like they have received little attention in ten or more years. The facility’s main function seems to be administrative; plus there are radio telescopes at the site, (see link above) and the parking lot is used by telescope enthusiasts for “star parties.”

We had the pleasure of visiting a star party on our previous visit — star gazers showed off their impressive telescopes. One had a telescope that measured about five feet around and a dozen feet high. I asked him where he kept it at home. He admitted it was a bit of an issue with his wife. A wonderful telescope, though.
Fred_Whipple_Visitor_Center cactus

The Whipple facility is within sight of the Mount Hopkins observatory, which is generally not open to the public, and being perilously perched on top of a mountain, not really accessible.

The attractions of the area — I will simply use photos.
Fred_Whipple_Visitor_Center cactus 2

Fred_Whipple_Visitor_Center desert flowers



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Beautiful! And the flowers are nice, too...

I'm an astronomy geek, so (1) I had heard of Whipple, and (2) I want that monster telescope. Problem is - where the heck would I use it? Our back yard is too blocked by trees and is generally washed out by Chicago light pollution.

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