KITT PEAK SOLAR OBSERVATORY
The Kitt Peak Solar Observatory has been used by the EuroVenus consortium in two roles. It is often used by the Cologne team as a telescope on which to mount their Tunable Heterodyne Infrared Spectrometer (THIS) instrument.
The Kitt Peak telescopes are solar telescopes, which means of course that they can be pointed at (or close to) the Sun – this s not the case for most astronomical observatories, which have to point well clear of the Sun in order to protect their sensitive detectors. This is tremendously useful for Venus observations, because Venus never is more than 50 degrees away from the Sun, as viewed from Earth. Use of solar telescopes therefore allows observations of Venus when it is at is closest to Earth (inferior conjunction), when it is also very close to the Sun as viewed from Earth.
The Kitt Peak Observatory's telescopes were also used to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun in June 2012. This data will be examined as part of the EuroVenus consortium's activities.