Advanced Observing Program at Kitt Peak Visitor Center
(Overnight Program)

The Advanced Observing Program is a public program in which participants use the high-tech resources of the Kitt Peak Visitor Center Observatories to explore the Universe. Don’t miss our images!

New CCD Images!
Quick Rate Info
  • CCD Imaging: $650/night, up to 2 people
  • Visual and Webcam DLSR: $550/night, up to 2 people
  • $90/night/person, room and board, single occupancy (includes 3 meals)
  • $75/night/person, double occupancy

AOP Visitor Information

Thank you for choosing to participate in the Advanced Observing Program. So that your stay will be as comfortable and rewarding as possible please read and keep this important information.

  1. Check in is between 2:00pm and 4:00pm on your scheduled date. Please introduce yourself to the visitor center staff (cashier). You will then be given instructions on where to go to get your room assignment. At that point you will be allowed time to unpack and settle in. Call 520-318-8726 to inform the daytime staff of any problems, schedule changes, flight delays etc. Please leave a number at which we can contact you. You’re more than welcome to visit the observatory earlier if you so wish; however, you will not be able to get into your room until 2 pm.
  2. Please fill out and send in the Night Lunch/Breakfast form within 1 week of your arrival. Dinner is all you can eat cafeteria style. Please note that we feed you well so order accordingly. You need to use one form per person for each night that you stay. You can pick up either your night lunch or breakfast from the refrigerator in the dining hall.
  3. Bring plenty of warm clothes and expect cold and wind. At an elevation of 6,875 feet the temperatures are generally 15-20 degrees cooler than Tucson even in the “warm” months. Winter jackets, hats and gloves are typical observing gear. Dress in layers.
  4. Other than cloudy skies, if the weather seems questionable call the Visitor Center before you drive to the mountain to check on the road and weather conditions. Be certain to leave your local contact information so that your telescope operator can call you if necessary.
  5. Plan on eating dinner sometime between 4:30 and 5:30pm. Details of where to go and when will be discussed when you arrive. If you arrive after 3:45 then you need to see the Night Staff at the visitor center for instructions. The nightly public program gets underway right before dark. Feel free to make a reservation by calling 520-318-8726 in advance. AOP guests get a substantial price break. The program ends generally 3 hours after sunset.
  6. The quoted price for your reservation is $550/$650 per night observing fee plus a $90 per person per night (single occupancy, $75/person/night double occupancy) room and board fee. The charge for cancellations that occur less than one month prior to your date is $100. You are not charged for bad weather.
  7. For Tucson tourist/hotel information please contact the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tucson is home to some world class attractions. Information can be found at The Southern Arizona Attractions Alliance.
  8. Download a printable map and directions to Kitt Peak [344 KB pdf].

Some useful web sites:

AOP Check-In Instructions

Please follow these instructions (so bring this paperwork with you!) for easy check in. If need be, use the included map to get to each of these points:

Other Useful Information:


State route 86 has a Border Patrol checkpoint. If you are visiting from outside the US please bring your passports to expedite the process. The checkpoint is eastbound so you will need your papers when you head back.

Map of Kitt Peak