Nightly Observing Program at Kitt Peak Visitor Center

Observe at the WIYN 0.9-m. Find out more about this limited time special program.

Imagine a night under the stars at Kitt Peak National Observatory! Professional astronomers the world over aspire to do their research here, and now, you can experience the wonder of hands-on astronomy. We'll review recent advances in the field and provide an understandable perspective of our place in the universe. Then, we'll use our three telescopes to take a visual journey through the cosmos. Come experience Kitt Peak with us!

Quick Rate Info
  • Adults: $49
  • Seniors: $45 (age 62 and over)
  • Students: $45 (elementary to college)
  • Military: $45 (with current ID)
  • Group Rates Available

Arrival

Guests arrive 60-75 minutes before sunset and check in at the Visitor Center (you will be given a specific arrival time when you make a reservation). After spending some time exploring our exhibits and interactive displays and browsing our gift shop, you’ll be served a light meal and experience an introduction to astronomy and the National Observatory. Then we'll head to our overlook point and observe the sun setting over the Tohono O'odham Reservation

Orientation

After a brief talk about the distances between objects in our universe, you will learn how to use a planisphere to find stars and constellations in the sky. Then we will distribute a pair of binoculars to each guest before stepping outside and identifying constellations, stars, and many other interesting objects. You will have the opportunity to use binoculars and planispheres throughout the evening, and you will be shown various objects best viewed through binoculars.

Telescopic Journey

Finally, guests will gather in one of the Visitor Center’s domes to observe the heavens in all their grandeur through one of our reflecting telescopes. We will see highlights of the particular time of year like planets, multiple star systems, planetary nebulae, star clusters and galaxies. Learn about these objects as we view them and find out what a light year really means. Ask questions, and above all, have fun discovering your universe! The program runs for 3 to 3.5 hours after sunset and is an experience unlike any other.

We look forward to meeting you under the dark skies of Kitt Peak.