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.

Remote-Imaging Program

Just because you can’t travel to Kitt Peak doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of our telescopes and some dark skies.  The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is happy to announce our Remote-Imaging Program. Reserve one of our public telescopes for a night of astro-imaging.  Staff will have the observatory open and the telescope homed when you log in.  You’ll be given a set of instructions for operating the telescope with a simple, straightforward program that allows you to input all your targets and just press a button to start.  The software will do the rest.  Your raw data, including calibration frames, will be made available to you within 24 hours.  Or choose the staff-assisted add-on to work with a guide who will conduct your session.  We will even process your images.

Sky Calendar

Prior to making 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://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/observing-kitt-peak/ephemeris-kitt-peak-observers-calendar/2022.  If it turns out that a bright night is all that’s available, we have an H-alpha filter so don’t let a little moonlight stop  you.

Price

$325/night

Staff-assisted upgrade $90

Weather and Cancelations. If the weather, including wind, on the night of your program becomes unsuitable for imaging prior to the start of your run, we can switch you to the other observatory if available, switch you to the next available night on the same telescope, or cancel your program for a full refund.  Guests may cancel up to 24 hours prior to the program and have the cost of the program refunded minus fees.  Guests canceling less than 24 hours prior to their program will be charged a 20% late cancellation fee

Equipment

SOLARIO

Kitt Peak

Parallax Instruments 12.5-inch RC with focal reducer, 2003mm focal length f/6.3.  ZWO ASI071MC Pro One Shot Color camera with guider.  Paramount ME.

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