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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 pirority.

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:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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

Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration




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

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number