Tucson Information

Tucson enjoys more sunshine than any other city in the United States. Summer temperatures range from average highs of 98.3 degrees to average lows of 69.6 degrees. Average winter temperatures range from 65.3 to lows of 37.6 degrees. The lifestyle is free and easy, and casual clothing is acceptable most everywhere. In the winter, a light coat or jacket will usually suffice. If you plan to enjoy the Arizona sun, we recommend you use a sunscreen for your safety.

Travel To and From the Tucson Airport

The Arizona Stagecoach (office in the airport terminal, phone 889-1000) is the most economical commercial transportation between the airport and our Tucson headquarters. Their van currently meets all incoming flights and can arrive at the downtown office in approximately 40 minutes.

Taxicab service (unregulated) to and from the airport is also available, with shorter travel time (20 minutes), and greater cost (from $11.00-$20.00). A note of caution: For all taxicabs, remind the driver to turn on the meter, since he may "forget," and propose a flat rate which is higher than the metered rate.

When feasible, please schedule flights in and out of Tucson to correspond with our shuttle bus schedule. If your arrival at the downtown office conflicts with the Kitt Peak mountain transportation schedule and you need same-day transportation to Kitt Peak, call 318-8279, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (local time) to arrange for needed transportation. NOAO does not provide pick-up or drop-off shuttle service to the Tucson Airport.

For your return flight, we recommend that you schedule your pickup time at the downtown office (950 North Cherry Avenue) for at least two hours ahead of your flight departure. If you are coming directly from the mountain to meet a flight, schedule the downtown pickup time two hours later than your mountain departure. NOTE: The Arizona Stagecoach needs a 24-hour advance reservation from the Headquarters Office back to the airport.

Use of Tucson Facilities and Key Cards to the Tucson Office Building

Through your Staff Contact, you should make advance arrangements for the use of downtown equipment. Please indicate your needs on the Observing Run Preparation Form.

Distribution of outside door key cards to NOAO Tucson offices is limited. If you need to borrow a key card during your data-analysis directly after an observing run, contact the Kitt Peak Support Office, Room 172.

For other in-house data analysis services (from past observing runs and the like), write to Dr. Steve Grandi, Manager, Central Computer Services to request the use of the downtown computers. Specify the time and equipment you need. After approval, you can pick up your outside door key card in Room 100.

If you wish to use other reduction equipment such as the PDS, Grant Measuring Engine, etc., please send e-mail to the KPNO Director at After receiving approval you will be instructed where to pick up a door key card.

Please note: It is important for you to return the key card at the end of your stay, as we have only a small number of key cards to loan out. Key cards must be returned to the Kitt Peak Support Office, Room 172, prior to your departure. If you leave after normal working hours, the key cards should be placed in the drop box on the wall next to Room 172. Please do not drop outside door key cards in any U.S. mailbox, or attempt to mail them in an envelope that can be destroyed by the U.S. Post Office.

Who to See for an Office

Please see someone in the Kitt Peak Support Office if you would like an office to use while you are in Tucson. They may have already assigned you an office if you indicated one on your Observing Run Preparation Form.


For long-term visitors, if you need to park a private or rented vehicle in either of the NOAO parking lots on Cherry Avenue or First Street, request the Kitt Peak Support Office to obtain a Temporary Parking Permit from Central Facilities Operations. Having this permit on the dashboard will prevent having the car towed away. If you are going to arrive late or over a weekend, please advise the Kitt Peak Support Office so that we can have a permit ready for you to pick up.

How to Make Long Distance Calls

You are requested to place all long distance telephone calls on a credit card or collect basis. A number of options exist for placing long distance calls. For your convenience, please refer to the dialing instructions posted at each telephone. If you have any questions regarding telephone use, or need assistance in placing a call, you may reach the Kitt Peak or NOAO operator, during normal working hours, by dialing "0". In an emergency situation, please feel free to contact any NOAO employee. If you are having trouble placing a call, they will assist you.

Personal or Business Mail

If you have asked people to send you mail here (whether you are on Kitt Peak or in Tucson), please give them the NOAO address: NOAO, Kitt Peak Support Office, P. O. Box 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726. You can pick up your mail in the Kitt Peak Support Office, or we will send it to Kitt Peak if you are still on the mountain.

Use of the NOAO Tucson Headquarters Visitor Offices

To arrange for use of Tucson visitor offices either before or after your Kitt Peak observing run please contact the Kitt Peak Observing Support office:

Tucson Bus System

The Tucson city bus system is called "Sun Tran." City bus schedules are located in the lobby of the Headquarters Building, and a map of the entire city bus system is located in the hallway of the Employees' Lounge. The bus is fairly convenient to most major shopping areas or hotels, and the one-way fare is $1.00 (exact change only). Transfers to connecting buses are free. If you have any questions about catching the bus or schedules, please call Sun Tran at 792-9222.

NOAO Apartments in Tucson

NOAO does not maintain apartments in Tucson. The Kitt Peak Support Office may be able to suggest apartments for long-term visitors (visitors who need lodging by the month or longer). For shorter stays, the Kitt Peak Support Office can suggest local hotels.


Updated March 3, 2011