Sarah Duncan at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona

Earlier this month SPS member Sarah Duncan travelled to the Kitt Peak National Observatory.  Here she tells us a bit about her experience and shares some of her photographs.


Kitt Peak is home to the largest collection of telescopes in the world. Located 7000 ft elevation above Arizona’s Sonoran Desert in the Tohono O’Odham reserve, Kitt Peak houses 25 optical and 2 radio telescopes. Kitt Peak National Observatory is a working observatory where astronomers sleep during the day and work at night.


I went there as part of my Professional Practice for the Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking MA at UWE.  I was hoping to gain an insight into the actual telescopes, astronomy, and collect visual references and data to inspire my practice.

I spent the nights photographing and drawing the stars, galaxies, nebulas and planets. I saw a meteorite so huge that it made a sonic boom- it was awesome.

I did quite a few time lapses setting a photo off every 3 – 5 mins throughout the night to capture the movement of the stars.

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I was allowed to attach my SLR to the telescope to take pictures down it, capturing an image as far as 65 million light years away. It was mind blowing.


text and images by Sarah Duncan

posted by Gillian Thompson