Your youth group is invited to spend an unforgettable night on Kitt Peak. You will experience stargazing like few places on Earth; and you will become acquainted with the night sky, star charts, binoculars, and of course the telescope. You will enjoy amazing views of deep-sky wonders. The program is ideal for groups of up to 25 people. You may work with our team to personalize the program according to your group’s needs and interests. Two options are available and are described below.
The Night Sky Discovery Program
Your group arrives in the late afternoon to check in. After an orientation and dinner, the first viewing experience is watching the sunset from a west-facing cliff on our mountaintop. Afterward, as night arrives, we introduce you to the beauty of the night sky. A binocular tour of the sky, instruction on how to use special night sky maps called planispheres, and extended viewing through a telescope will introduce you to some of the wonders of the universe. We can run the telescope for your group as long as they can stay awake. When your energy is exhausted your group retires to sleep on the floor of the Visitor Center or the Roll Off Roof observatory using sleeping bags and pillows you bring with you. You then muster and depart by 8am the following morning.
Scouting Astronomy Badge Special
The format of this program is similar to the Night Sky Discovery Program but includes additional activities to meet the requirements of the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Astronomy Merit Badges.
Please try to book your reservation at least 2 months in advance to better your chances of reserving the desired date.
The fee for either program is $995 for groups of 1 to 25 participants, including adults. Groups wishing to bring their own dinner and snacks receive a $100 discount. This program is free to members of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Under rare circumstances, larger groups can be accommodated. For groups of 26 to 50 people, the fee is $1,990.
Please try to book your reservation at least 2 months in advance to better your chances of reserving the desired date. The program can accommodate a maximum of 25 people, including chaperones. At least two adults are required to accompany the group throughout the night. This program is ordinarily not offered from July 1 through September 15 because of Monsoon Season although some exceptions can be made.
A credit card is required to hold your reservation for this program. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted.
Full payment will be made on the night of the program. We no longer accept purchase orders. Checks should be made payable to AURA. No-shows or cancellations less than 10 days prior to the program date will result in a deposit being charged to the credit card on file. This deposit will be 50 percent of the total program cost.
This program is free to members of the Tohono O'odham Nation.
The Visitor Center must be notified of changes in the total number of participants no less than 48 hours prior to the program date. The program is weather-dependent. We reserve the right to cancel the program at the last minute if conditions on the Kitt Peak are too hazardous for visitors. Please be sure to make alternate overnight arrangements for your group just in case. In the event of a cancellation because of hazardous conditions, no deposit or other fees will be charged. Should the weather be cloudy but not hazardous, the program will go on with other activities substituted for the observing portions of the evening, until such time as the skies may clear. Once made, payment is non-refundable.
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Kitt Peak National Observatory