The Grasslands Observatory is owned by Tim
The Director of the observatory is James McGaha, who
is in charge of the
The Grasslands Observatory was started
in 1985 when Tim
Hunter purchased 20 acres of land at a remote
location in Southeastern Arizona approximately an hour's drive
from Tucson. The site has no horizon obstructions in any
direction and sits on a large grassy plateau surrounded by
distant mountains. It is at 5000 feet elevation, and there is
only minor light pollution from distant Tucson, Sierra Vista,
and Nogales, Arizona (and Sonora, Mexico).
In 1986, a 24-inch f/5
equatorial Newtonian (f/20 Cassegrain telescope) was purchased
from its builder Jeff Shaffer and installed in a 20 x 20 foot
roll-off building. The building was designed by Tim Hunter and
James McGaha and built by them under the guidance of Jeff
To the direct west of the original Observatory Building is
the Warm Room (sometime called the Control Room) a separate 14 x 14 foot building which is
heated and insulated. It contains the controls for multiple telescope, a microwave, refrigerator, computers, bed, power, telephone, and internet service. Unfortunately, there is no running
The Warm Room was originally built in 1995 when the original 24-inch
telescope was changed from mainly visual use to electronic
In 2013 the Warm Room/Control Room was expanded considerably by a 14 x 26 foot additon, and a separate 12 x 14 foot Storage Room was added. A new weather station and an All Sky Cam were also added.
Since 2015, the Grasslands Observatory has been significally improved and enlarged with the addition of three new 14 x 14 foot roll-off roof buildings containg telescopes for remote operations.
At this time a PlaneWave 24-inch CDK24 f/6.5 telescope and a TPO RC 16-inch f/8 telescope are in active use via remote operation. An ASA 20-inch f/3.5 telescope is on site and is expected to be put into operation in the next few months.
tbh 21 April 2017