Nightly Observing Program at Kitt Peak Visitor Center
The Kitt Peak Visitor Center and NOAO do not provide travel to Kitt Peak. There is a shuttle service available for a fee. Please call Adobe Transport at 520-609-0593. Directions to Kitt Peak.
High atop Kitt Peak sits the largest collection of optical research telescopes anywhere in the world. Each evening, we offer a public program like no other. At our Visitor Center and its three observatories, the public is invited to learn about and gain hands-on experience with the latest astronomy has to offer. We’ll view everything from planets to distant galaxies using our 20- and 16-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescopes from RC Optical Systems and our 16-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This program is offered to a small group of participants EVERY NIGHT of the week (although we are closed from July 15 to September 1 for our monsoon season). Now it’s your chance to experience Kitt Peak!
While people have always requested a night under the stars on Kitt Peak, it wasn’t until the fall of 1996 that this became possible when the public programs were established. Then, in October 2002, expansion to a second dome allowed additional guests to take advantage of the program without increasing the number of participants in each observatory! In early 2006, we were fortunate enough to get our third observatory. Since fall of 2006 we have been scheduling guests in our new roll-off-roof observatory or ROR.
If you’ve only just found out about the Nightly Observing Program, please consider joining the nearly 7000 people each year who experience the thrill of an evening on Kitt Peak. Discovery and excitement await! Gift Certificates are available; call 520-318-8726.
NEW SUMMER NOP’S
Normally we shut the NOP down July 15th - Aug 31 but for this year we are running a limited test program to see if we can run some summer stargazing events. Our summer rains are sometimes unpredictable. We are offering NOP’s on Friday-Sunday nights. Starting July 15 – Aug 31. You can make your reservation online or by calling the visitor center at 520-318-8726.
Now available: online reservations for NOP participants - click here.
Due to the popularity of this program, it is recommended that you make reservations 2 to 4 weeks prior to your visit.
You will be called on the day of the event for verification if the program is a go or no go. If you do not hear for us by 2pm then please call the visitor center at 520-318-8726.
NOP Programs are held regardless of cloudy or clear weather. In the event of cloudy weather a series of unique indoor presentations and hands on activities, behind the scene telescope tours, will stimulate your curiosity and interest; refunds or discounts due to inclement weather are not available. Cancellations must be made no later than 24 hours prior to check-in time for your program. Deposits will be charged for no shows if the 24hr cancellation is not met.
In the event of a canceled program by us due to dangerous weather, equipment problems, low numbers etc., no deposit will be charged.
Credit Card charge. We sometimes will charge your credit card before you arrive to cut down on the line at the register. You will receive a receipt at check in. No shows are charged that night.
This program is an introductory star-gazing program. Those looking for a more in-depth experience can reserve a night on the Advanced Observing Program.
[Credit: Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory]