Kitt Peak National Observatory

summit of Kitt Peak Arizona

Kitt Peak Arizona

Southern Arizona has some of the clearest night skies in the world. If you couple that with a lack of light pollution outside of the urban areas then you have somewhere that is ideal for siting observatories. Kitt Peak to the east of Tucson is the home of the US National Observatory and is home to a large collection of leading edge scientific instruments. The observatory is open for self guided tours daily that show visitors a number of the most significant instruments in the complex. Periodic guided tours are also available. Due to height of the site it is cooler then the desert floor and there are also good populations of wildlife including colourful butterflies on the site.

Kitt Peak visitor centre Arizona

Visitor centre at Kitt Peak

56 miles west of Tucson, the peak is visible from a long distance and you will recognise it by the white structures at the summit. A paved road winds its way to the top and you will have to traverse a number of switchbacks as you gain altitude. A visitor centre is open daily. Wide ranging views across the  southern Arizona landscape are another highlight of a visit here.

For anyone with a keen interest in astronomy the observatory runs programmes after dark when members of the public get the chance to view the night skies through a number of telescopes. These evenings are highly popular so reservations need to be made 2 to 4 weeks in advance. (the evening programme does not run in the summer months and the website should be consulted for up to date scheduling).

Kitt Peak Solar Telescope

McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope at Kitt Peak

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