Tucson’s Mission Garden, Arizona

9 a.m. The alarm clock blares. Dirty, dusty shoes are pulled on. Later, sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses. It’s Saturday. On Saturdays and Sunday’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers travel to the base of “A” Mountain to pull weeds and pick the ripest of fruits and vegetables at the Mission Garden. “We’ve…

Attending the National Geographic Festival 2018 in Washington DC

As a child, I absolutely loved the National Geographic. From the television channel to the magazine, I wanted to work for National Geographic. It is actually the only thing that has matched my drive to work for NASA. This year, I am lucky enough to live near Washington D.C., which is where Nat Geo (short…

The Downfall of a Southwestern Icon?

Giant. Majestic. Old. And, brown? Deep in the Sonoran Desert near Gila Bend, Arizona, the giant saguaro cactuses thrive. Or they once did. Driving along the 8-Interstate, visitors pass miles of saguaro forests, where these towering cactuses dominate the rocky and arid landscape. In past decades, the saguaro is a green stripe in the surrounding…

Water Effects on the Southwestern Springtime

In early March 2017 rain spattered across the Sonoran Desert. At Tumamoc Hill near Tucson, Arizona, seedlings and flowers sprung up atop the hillside research center. A week after the rains temperatures reached mid-90 degrees Fahrenheit for several days. The seedlings and flowers atop Tumamoc Hill sweltered and died in the heat. During that time,…

Fires, Lasers, Squirrels, and Telescopes: A Tour of the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham, Arizona

Story first featured on the University of Arizona Steward Observatory’s education program “Active Galactic Videos” here.  In June of 2004, the Nuttal Fire began along the southern rims of the Pinaleño Mountains in southern Arizona, sparked in two separate locations by lightning strikes. Over the course of a month, the fire burned nearly 30,000 acres and…

Rotating Telescopes & Collaboration: A Tour of the Multiple Mirror Telescope, near Tucson, Arizona

Story first featured on the University of Arizona Steward Observatory's education program "Active Galactic Videos" here.  Atop Mount Hopkins near Tucson, Arizona, stands the Multiple Mirror Telescope. At the time of its establishment in 1979, it was the third largest telescope in the world – even President Carter sent congratulations on its dedication. Since its construction,…