We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Highlight of our trip”

Kitt Peak National Observatory
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sells
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Located 56 miles southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, the observatory is a working research station situated high above on Kitt Peak.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed November 17, 2006

I can concur with all of the wonderful comments made about the night observing program at Kitt Peak. It is a must-do when visiting the area. Our astronomer (actually an astrophysicist) David Sage was wonderful. He explained difficult conceps in a very easy to understand way for non-scientists. His green laser pointer also made it easy to see what he was pointing out in the sky before we searched for it with binoculars. It was very exciting to watch all of the observatories start to open at the beginning of the program.

My only advice for attendees is to dress VERY WARMLY - we were fortunate to have hat, gloves, wool socks and gortex layers, as were were bicycling at elevation and knew how cold it would be up there at night. If you are easily chilled, consider a balaclava for your face and the chemical "packs" to keep your feet warm - as sitting still for a couple of hours can result in cold extremities. This program is so fantastic, you don't want to be thinking about how cold your xxxxxxxx is, rather than focusing on the wonderous sights around you.

Make your reservations early - this program sells out!

11  Thank dds262
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (331)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

319 - 323 of 331 reviews

Reviewed September 28, 2006

Kitt Peak Observatory is a must see when visiting Tucson. It is a bit of a drive from Tucson but well worth it. We visited in January of 2006 and were very satisfied with the experience. Keep your digital cameras handy to get shots of the incredible views when driving up the mountain before sunset.

We went for the Nighttime Observing Program costing around $36 per person, which included a meal, partial site tour, binocular stargazing and at the end observation through the large telescope. The group size is around 25-30 people. So there is a bit of a wait to view the objects in the large telescope. However, I occupied myself during the wait gazing at stars and planets through my binoculars. So my suggestion is to bring them with you during the observation portion.

Some of the amazing sights we saw during our telescope observation were Almach, The Orion Nebula, The Andromeda Galaxy, The Eskimo Nebula, Almach, M32, The Moon, Mars and Saturn. It was just phenomenal seeing these spectacular celestial objects in such clear view. Saturn was saved for last and proved to be an extremely impressive sight. We were able to see its largest satellite Titan very well and could also make out some of its smaller satellites. The Andromeda galaxy was also an incredibly stunning display. Overall the program is worth every penny and more!

Some helpful tips -

Make sure to book in advance for the night tour. We did not book early enough and had to keep our fingers crossed for a cancellation; fortunately we got a call back and were able to get in.

Keep in mind that the Night Observing Program is closed from mid-July through August.

Do your research before scheduling your trip as the objects you observe are dependant upon time of the year as well as weather conditions.

Also, make sure to dress warmly! It gets very windy and cold up on the mountain. I brought a heavy jacket and still froze, but I could not complain as it was an experience I will never forget.

12  Thank dmgirl101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2006

The review below gives you all the details so we can only concur on what a great evening we had at Kitt Peak. Our astronomers were dedicated, knowlegable, humorous and patient. They said we had a 1 in a 100 viewing night so they were hyped up too. The sunset was stunning, the night clear and warm and the binocular viewing was only a preview of the wonders we saw through the telescope. This may be a trip for dedicated stargazers only but if you love nature and science you might just be beguiled. A word of caution. It's a late night with the program finishing at 11pm (this was in summer of course) and there is still a two hour drive to Tucson ahead of you. And they send you part way down the mountain caravan style with no headlights so as not to disturb the real scientific work going on there.

12  Thank lien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2006

We just returned from Arizona and had an excellent opportunity to see Kitt Peak observatory. Kitt Peak Observatory is about 1.5 miles west of Tucson. It is the home of many telescopes including the largest solar telescope. While you can tour the site during the day, there is an evening program that was excellent for beginning and interested star gazers. You arrive before sunset (they give you the time), they show you a video and give you a box lunch while the guests register. Then through the rest of the evening you view the sunset, review the working insides of a telescope, receive information on the telescopes on the peak, learn to read a star chart and actually view stars with binnoculars. The finale is when they divide the group and you view certain stars/planets through one of the telescopes. We saw jupiter, saturn, a globular cluster, and twin stars. This fun evening started on the peak at 5:55 and ended about 11:00. You need reservations and if I recall it was about $30-40 per person. Go to the Kitt peak website for more information.

13  Thank clarksp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2017
Google Translation

Thank marinavO3781UB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Kitt Peak National Observatory? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing