Kitt Peak National Observatory is closed to visitors

We’re aware that many people are eager to come visit Kitt Peak by car, bicycles or even on foot. The public Arizona State Route 386 up to Kitt Peak National Observatory is still closed by ADOT while it makes necessary repairs to the road and guard rails after damage from the Contreras Fire. For this reason, all public programs and tours, including online workshops, at KPNO are suspended due to the effects of the Contreras Fire on the site. 

Arizona State Route 386 up to KPNO remains closed to the public. Do not travel up this road for any reason or by any means. Access is limited only to staff and contractors due to safety concerns related to missing road guardrails, rapidly occurring rainfalls, and fire debris runoff during the monsoon season. 

Together with the Arizona Department of Transportation we continue to work to make the site safe so public visits can restart. We hope to have news about the reopening of the visits in December 2022. Please revisit this website periodically for updates.

Virtual PixInsight Workshop May 28, 2022

Kitt Peak is happy to announce our on-line PixInsight workshop!  Hosted by award-winning astroimager Casey Good, the workshop is intended for the astrophotographers who would like to improve their processing skills by learning how to use PixInsight.  We assume no prior knowledge of PixInsight and teach as if it is your first time using the program.

This one-day course will be taught online via Zoom, with the whole class on a shared data set to learn the process. That evening we will use Kitt Peak’s remote telescopes to acquire a new dataset (weather permitting) which will be available early the next morning. 

Topics Covered

  • Use our custom process icons as a roadmap for processing most data sets
  • Preprocess both one shot color and monochrome data
  • Linear image enhancements including deconvolution and linear noise reduction techniques
  • How to best stretch your data sets achieving the best dynamic range of an image
  • Nonlinear adjustment to improve sharpness, color, contrast and noise

Price $249.  Only 16 spots available.  Reserve your spot soon!

Your instructor, Casey Good, has been teaching Kitt Peak’s astrophotography classes since 2016, where he developed courses based on the needs of today’s hobbyist, having started out as one in his backyard.  Casey has been recognized internationally for his work, having been awarded over twenty Astronomy Pictures of the Day awards from NASA, Amateur APOD, and has been published in other outlets.  In 2019 he was recognized as one of Insight’s Astrophotographer of the Year, having two awarded images on display at the Royal Greenwich Museum in London.

Introduction to Astrophotography

Learn the basics of astro-imaging. Dates TBD

Learn how to capture the beauty of the heavens at the world-renowned Kitt Peak National Observatory! The Introduction to Astrophotography workshop is meant for those who are ready to take their first steps into the world of astrophotography and image processing. We will introduce you to the different aspects of the hobby, from planetary and solar imaging to landscape astrophotos and finally, deep space astrophotography. Our hands-on program will teach you the basics of image capture through digital processing, with equipment suggestions for every budget and tips from our experienced astrophotographers. At the end of this three-day workshop, everyone will leave with their own beautiful images to take home, along with the knowledge to continue their astrophotography journey. This program takes place in a telescope dome and classroom that is not accessible to wheelchairs.

This program is free to members of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Topics Covered

Types of Astrophotography

  1. Deep sky
  2. Planetary Lunar
  3. Solar

Landscape astrophotos

  1. Equipment Basics
  2. Using what you have
  3. Tips for getting started

Making the most of your budget

Data Acquisition – Hands on at the KPVC Scopes!

Intro to Processing Software

  1. Registax
  2. DeepSkyStacker
  3. StarTools

Intermediate Astrophotography

Learn intermediate techniques for image processing.  Dates TBD

Kitt Peak is proud to offer our Intermediate Astrophotography Workshop. This workshop was created specifically for amateur astrophotographers who are familiar with basic imaging techniques and want to expand their knowledge by focusing on deep space astrophotography. At this workshop, our talented astrophotographers will teach participants how to capture the wonder that is deep space utilizing advanced concepts, including equipment selection/optimization, shooting monochromatic to get color, narrowband imaging, and processing using PixInsight. Gain the tools necessary to consistently acquire quality images and make the most of every night! This program takes place in a telescope dome and classroom that is not accessible to wheelchairs.

This program is free to members of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Topics Covered

Making the most of clear skies

  1. Target Selection and Planning
  2. Backyard vs Remote Imaging
  3. Resource Hour – highlighting the best online tools/tutorials

Advanced Equipment/CCD Theory

  1. Telescope selection and considerations of each
  2. Shooting mono to get color
  3. Narrowband imaging
  4. Focusers
  6. Rotators
  7. Automation

Data Acquisition – Hands on at the KPVC Scopes!

Image processing with PixInsight

  1. Calibration
  2. Basic Post Process
  3. Advanced Tips
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