/ Modified mar 6, 2023 12:48 p.m.

Winter snow slows space exploration in southern Arizona

Mountaintop astronomers are sometimes stranded by heavy snow at telescope sites.

Snowbound Telescopes Telescopes atop Kitt Peak during the summer.
Steven Miller

Last week’s snow dumped several inches on the University of Arizona’s mountaintop space observatories. Melissa Brucker with the asteroid-hunting Spacewatch program says keeping track of the weather forecast is vital during the winter months on Kitt Peak.

“It’s been several years since we’ve had someone literally stuck up there for two or three nights." she said. "I don’t think this was bad enough for anyone to get stuck.”

At around 7,000 feet, Kitt Peak is among the shortest of the Southern Arizona mountains where telescopes are in operation. Bruker notes the best time of the year for Spacewatch mountaintop observation is October, after the monsoon and before the start of winter.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona