Skip to Content
Home KPNO About


Kitt Peak National Observatory

About KPNO

Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is a Program of the NOIRLab. KPNO hosts the facilities of consortia that, between them, operate more than a dozen optical telescopes and two radio telescopes.

KPNO operates the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope on behalf of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey (a project led by the US Department of Energy Office of Science) and the WIYN 3.5 meter Telescope (a partnership between Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Purdue University, the NSF and NASA).

Established in 1964 and in its sixth decade of operations, the Kitt Peak Visitor Center has been enjoyed by more than two million people. Our guests experience the largest and most diverse collection of research telescopes in any one place in the world. Three of the nearly two dozen active telescopes on Kitt Peak are dedicated solely to public viewing in our world-renowned nightly stargazing programs.

The mission of the visitor center is to inspire a sense of wonder and awe about the Universe through exhibits, daytime tours, and nighttime public programs. Our goal is to inform and educate the public daily about basic astronomy, its current research themes, and the nature of the scientific process.

NOIRLab’s Windows on the Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach

Read about an impressive new astronomy outreach facility being developed within the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). It will enable the public to experience the cutting edge research being carried out at Kitt Peak and NSF’s other astronomy facilities around the globe.