Telescope Model, Reflecting, Mayall


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Explore the Universe exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a metal scale model of a modern ground based reflecting telescope: the model has a 5-inch primary and a smaller set of secondary mirrors on a rotating frame. The overall design and many details of this model quite closely follow those of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories NOAO 4-meter Mayall reflector located at Kitt Peak. The original Mayall utilizes a split-ring equatorial suspension design and was built in the early 1970's, seeing first light in February 1973. It has a twin at NOAO's Cerro Tololo Observatory in Chile. It was one of the first of the 4-meter class telescopes and the last of the large series to utilize equatorial mountings. During the 1960s it was the largest telescope in the world available by peer-reviewed proposal without institutional priority.

Originally a photographic, photoelectric and spectroscopic instrument with several foci, the Mayall currently uses a 6 megapixel CCD camera for observing infrared and faint visible light from distant objects. This model was transferred to NASM from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in 1974; it is now on display in the "Explore the Universe" gallery.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Country of Origin

United States of America




3-D: 34.5 × 53 × 62cm (13 9/16 × 20 7/8 × 24 7/16 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum