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Home KPNO Tours & Programs Daytime Tours

Daytime Tours


Guided Daytime Tours of Kitt Peak National Observatory will restart on Friday 22 September. Spaces are limited to 24 guests per tour. Please make your reservation in advance to guarantee a spot.

Kitt Peak is very much alive during the daylight hours and offers a variety of activities to enjoy.

During the summer, the mountain is a great place to beat the desert heat.

Each tour, led by a docent, visits one of the large, historic telescopes of Kitt Peak. Telescopes are occasionally closed to the public for maintenance. The Visitor Center does its best to alert visitors of any changes to the regularly scheduled tours.

Please read here about accessibility, directions and more.

Duration: 1 hour

Strollers: Strollers are not permitted.

Advance reservation: Advance reservation is strongly recommended

Price:

  • 1 Daytime tour (regular) $19.95
  • 1 Daytime tour (discounted) $15.95

Discounts: Discounts (20%) are available for seniors from age 62, groups of 8 persons or more, active duty military with ID, and students with ID. Tours are free for ASTC Members and immediate family members (ASTC Membership card will be checked upon arrival).

Tohono O’odham Nation: This program is free to members of the Tohono O’odham nation (TON Tribal IDs will be checked upon arrival).

McMath Pierce Solar Telescope: 10:00 am
Experience the inside and outside of the iconic McMath Pierce Solar Telescope — the largest solar telescope in the world for over 50 years. Soon to be the Windows on the Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach funded by the National Science Foundation. The tour includes a Science on a Sphere audiovisual show called The Sun, Our Living Star.

KPNO 2.1-meter Telescope: 11:30 am
One of the earliest telescopes on Kitt Peak, and used by Vera Rubin to conduct landmark observations that established the existence of dark matter.

Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope: 1:30 pm
Tour the inside and outside of what used to be the second-largest telescope in the world when it was built. It is host to the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument built by the US Department of Energy, the most powerful multi-object survey spectrograph in the world.

Safety
  1. Be cautious and respectful of wildlife; do not feed, pursue, or approach wildlife
  2. Stay with your guide and group
  3. No rock climbing or bouldering
  4. Stay out of recently burned areas
  5. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness (dizziness, severe headache, etc) let your guide know immediately
  6. Be aware that high winds can make doors (on both cars and buildings) dangerous