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.

Overnight Telescope Observing Program

Overnight Telescope Observing Program:  This custom program gives you the full observatory experience and makes you a visiting astronomer at Kitt Peak.

When you arrive at the Visitor Center, you will meet your telescope operator who will assist you in getting settled into your dorm room.  After enjoying dinner in the cafeteria, with other astronomers and staff, and a telescope becomes available, the night is yours for as long as you can last.  Visual observing and imaging of incredible deep-sky objects are both possible.  You may compile your own observing list or let the telescope operator make one for you.  This program is often given as a very special gift to interested loved ones for special occasions and offers the guest a full visiting-astronomer experience.  No prior experience in astronomy is necessary to participate in and enjoy this amazing program.

Reservations

The program is scheduled by request.  Allow at least thirty days lead time when requesting a reservation.  The reservation request form is available on the link above.  July and August are the least preferable months on Kitt Peak because of monsoon.  Once the reservation is confirmed with a credit card, an email will be sent to the guest.  Please read it carefully because it contains much important information about your program.

Sky Calendar

Prior to requesting your reservation, check this calendar for moon phases to better your chances of getting a dark night. Look at the “%illum” column under Moon and try to choose dates with illuminations between 0 and 25 percent.  https://www.noao.edu/kpno/skycal/cal2020.html

Prices

Telescope use for the night up to 2 guests – $785

Single room for 2 persons, including 3 meals – $90

Double room for 2 guests, including 3 meals – $150

For each additional person over 2 add $100 to the telescope fee of $785.

Room prices are as follows: 1 single – $90; 1 double – $150

Equipment

Visitor Center Observatory:

RCOS 20-inch on a Paramount MEII

Takahashi 106-mm Astrograph

Canon 60Da DSLR

Roll-off-Roof Observatory (ROR):

RCOS 16-inch on a Paramount ME

TEC 140-mm apochromatic refractor

Canon 60Da DSLR

Levine          Observatory:

16-inch RC on an equatorial mount

Mead 6-inch achromatic refractor 

SOLARIO remote imaging observatory:

Parallax 12.5-inch RC

ZWO ASI071MC Pro OSC

This telescope is accessible remotely from any of the other three observatories.

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