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Getting Started Getting started for the evening
Setting August Milky Way Setting August Milky Way
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This site last updated on Monday March 27, 2017


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The Grasslands Observatory is owned by Tim Hunter. The Director of the observatory is James McGaha, who is in charge of the observatory's operations. 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 Shaffer. James McGaha coordinated the moving and installation of the telescope in its new facility.


The Observatory Building consists of a 20 x 20 foot roll-off roof structure housing the fork mounted 24-inch f/5 Newtonian reflector. To the direct West of the Observatory Building is the Control Room, a separate 14 x 14 foot building which is heated and insulated. It contains the controls for the telescope and also has a microwave, refrigerator, computers, a bed, power, and telephone. Unfortunately, there is no running water.

The Control Room was built in 1995, and at that time, the telescope was changed from mainly visual use to electronic imaging.

In 2013 the Control room was expanded considerably in size to 14 x 26 feet, and a separate storage room was added. A new weather station and an All Sky Cam were added.


This site last updated on Monday March 27, 2017

Web Page First Uploaded 16 December 1998

Web Page Redesigned and Uploaded July 2014