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Updated Feb 4, 2013 - 10:23 am

Tucson observatory explores options for telescope

Kitt Peak Observatory (Facebook Photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Federal funding for a massive telescope atop Kitt Peak in southern Arizona is set to end Dec. 31, now efforts are under way to keep it operational.

The National Science Foundation's division of astronomical sciences announced last year that it intends to stop supporting the McMath-Pierce solar telescope and its other telescopes on Kitt Peak.

The Arizona Daily Star reported that McMath-Pierce is the first Kitt Peak instrument to face a deadline.

The National Solar Observatory in Tucson plans a Thursday workshop on the telescope's future.

Astronomer Mark Penn of the observatory said the telescope's instruments and lab space might interest people in the optics industry and others.

The observatory's headquarters will move to Boulder, Colo., in 2016.

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