Kitt Peak National Observatory, Topawa

Observatory · National Park
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The Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is a United States astronomical observatory located on Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O'odham Nation, 88 kilometers (55 mi) west-southwest of Tucson, Arizona. With more than twenty optical and two radio telescopes, it is one of the largest gatherings of astronomical instruments in the Earth's northern hemisphere.
Kitt Peak National Observatory was founded in 1958. It is home to what was the largest solar telescope in the world, and many large astronomical telescopes of the late 20th century in the United States.
The observatory was administered by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) from the early 1980s until 2019, after which it was overseen by NOIRLab.
In June 2022, the Contreras Fire led to the evacuation of Kitt Peak. The fire reached the summit at 2 a.m. on Friday, June 17. Four non-scientific buildings, including a dormitory, were lost in the fire. As of Monday, June 20, the extent of damage to the telescopes is still being assessed.
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Kitt Peak National Observatory reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
417 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • As of mid March, the facilities were still closed (no access to buildings, etc.), but the road was open (maybe we were lucky). Loved the architecture of the various telescopes and instruments. An... 
    As of mid March, the facilities were still closed (no access to buildings, etc.), but the road was open (maybe we were lucky). Loved the architecture of the various telescopes and instruments. An...  more »
  • My wife and I visited here in early November last year during a two-night stay in Tucson. Visiting this observatory was an essential activity in our Arizona vacation, which was astronomy-themed as... 
    My wife and I visited here in early November last year during a two-night stay in Tucson. Visiting this observatory was an essential activity in our Arizona vacation, which was astronomy-themed as...  more »
  • Checked their website before we left our house in Scottsdale. They listed that they were open until 4pm. Drove 3 hours and over 150 miles only to find out that the observatory was closed. The road....  more
    Checked their website before we left our house in Scottsdale. They listed that they were open until 4pm. Drove 3 hours and over 150 miles only to find out that the observatory was closed. The road....  more »
Google
  • Simply spectacular views! It is well worth the drive up the mountain to visit this awesome scientific site. I would plan several hours to walk around the mountain and see everything that there is to offer here. And bring binoculars to help see the scale of everything that is here!
  • It is a gem to Tucson, amazing history and incredible night program. American ingenuity from the late 50s, really cool architecture worth a stop, highly recommend the night program. Currently closed to the public, due to the tribal land being closed to the public.
  • Pack a lunch if you plan on spending time here, it's distant and doesn't have a cafe. That being said, this place is interesting and educational. We came here on a family outing and saw all three daytime tours. The telescopes are interesting and we learned a lot about space and how we observe the solar bodies. Though the mountain isn't the attraction, the sights are breathtaking and it is easy to see why this is considered a holy place.
  • A must visit place. The tour guides are so hard working!!! They do so many things so perfectly! They're a wonderful host, they are a helpful salesmen, they drive well, they help you protect car headlights, But they're the Best guides as they're knowledgeable and give you all the insights. Loved the experience. Thanks Carmen, Arsh and One more person (sorry I don't remember the name)
  • Definitely interesting to visit as well as the route on the way. Amazing views on the way and at 7000 ft altitude. Highly recommended. Can be windy and cold, check the weather

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