The University of Arizona operates the Mt. Graham International Observatory which can be found near Safford, Arizona in the Pilaneno Mountains on Mt. Graham at over 3,000 feet. It is a portion of the Coronado National Forest. During November of 1988 congress approved the Observatory's construction. The Mount Graham International Observatory is a part of the Department of Astronomy at the university in the Steward Observatory division and covers 150 acres. In 1993 the first two telescopes were dedicated.
All of the personnel at the Observatory must have USFS authorization when entering Mt. Graham Red Squirrel in order to be in compliance with the fact that a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service is what the facility is run under. In order to obtain a permit to visit the facilities advanced notice must be given of visits.
All personnel visiting the Observatory are required to check in at the base camp for Mount Graham International Observatory located at 1480 West Swift Tail road in Safford, Arizona. When checking in for safety reasons the presence at the observatory will be logged and permits picked up. The key to access the gate, a radio and key to the facility will also be issued if necessary. Additional instructions can also be obtained from the base camp which is open from 6 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with the exception of holidays. Special arrangements can be made to arrange visits during to the Observatory during non working hours.
Steward Observatory Base Camp and Emerald Park observatory site in addition to the support structures make up Mount Graham. Visitors to the observatory and its employees must follow all rules and regulations of the facilities. This includes having the proper permits and cards which should be presented to UAPD offers if requested to do so. All State and Federal laws must be adhered to while on the premises as well. Any violations of the regulations or rules, crimes, damage that occurs or personal injuries should be reported as quickly as possible.
Mount Graham International Observatory offers visitors a clean facility with custodial services available from 8am until 3pm on weekdays. Emergency numbers are posted close to every telephone in the facility in the event of an emergency.
The Observatory offers visitors and employees a fully equipped kitchen with everything required to prepare a meal during your stay. You are required to supply your own food and clean up after yourself when you finish using the facility. Visitors are asked to do everything possible to prevent spills and to clean them up quickly should they occur. Proper precautions should be taken while cooking and bottled water at the facility should be used for cooking, drinking and refilling of ice trays only.
Tours of Mount Graham International Observatory are conducted on the weekends by Discovery Park's Gov Aker Observatory from the middle of May until the middle of November. Tours are dependent on the weather. Further information can be gotten about tours and special events by contacting the facilities. The observatory offers a variety of opportunities to make visiting more enjoyable.
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