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6/3/2024 2:57:15 PM
Kitt Peak National Observatory hosts open night
Kitt Peak,Observatory,Open night,Tohono O’odham,NOIR Lab,Stargazing
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Kitt Peak National Observatory hosts open night

Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory hosts open night


Monday, June 3, 2024

Richard Harris Richard Harris

Kitt Peak National Observatory recently hosted an Open Night for the Tohono O’odham Nation, welcoming hundreds of visitors for an evening of cultural celebration and stargazing. Over 70 NOIRLab volunteers facilitated telescope viewings, cultural performances, and educational activities, strengthening the partnership between the observatory and the Tohono O’odham community.

Hundreds of visitors from the Tohono O’odham Nation enjoyed a night of cultural celebration under the stars at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Over 70 NOIRLab staff volunteers welcomed guests for telescope viewings, cultural performances, and educational activities.

Kitt Peak National Observatory hosts open night for the Tohono O’odham Nation

On May 25, 2024, the U.S. National Science Foundation Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) hosted an Open Night event, celebrating its relationship with the Tohono O’odham Nation. The event drew 600 members of the community who participated in telescope viewings, dome tours, Waila music, and kids' entertainment.

KPNO is located atop I'oligam Du'ag (Manzanita Shrub Mountain), a site of historical and cultural significance for the Tohono O’odham Nation. The observatory's establishment in 1958 began with a lease agreement, marking a lasting partnership. NOIRLab honors this relationship through educational and community engagement programs, respecting the Tohono O’odham Himdag (Way of Life).

Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan from NSF NOIRLab/KPNO, the event organizer, expressed her pride in organizing the event for her tribe, particularly noting the enjoyment of the youth.

This Open Night was the first since 2015, delayed by challenges like the coronavirus pandemic and the 2022 Contreras fire. The event featured cultural and astronomical activities, including Waila music by Carl & Buddies, children's storytelling by Arizona Humanities, solar telescope viewing, and a Science on a Sphere show. Attendees also had the rare chance to look through the UArizona Bok 2.3-meter and WIYN 3.5-meter telescopes.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Verlon Jose, hosted by Lori Allen, MSO Director at NSF NOIRLab, was among the visitors. The event also included food from Tohono O’odham vendors and transportation from three locations on the Nation.





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