TRIPS to explore Kitt Peak National Observatory and Night Sky Observing Program


Joyce Shumate

On Thursday, April 12, we will be departing from Madera Clubhouse parking lot at 3:00 p.m. and returning about midnight. A clear night on Kitt Peak is not to be missed or soon forgotten. The nation’s observatory was built here for its dark, frequently clear skies and you can share in those views.

This four-hour program is an introduction and sampler for beginning stargazers. This very popular program requires advance reservations. Brief periods of standing are required to reach the eyepiece for viewing through the telescope. Wear layers of clothing plus hats and gloves, being it may be warm when we leave but will get very cold as the evening progresses. Inside the observatories are also cold.

Enjoy an evening of astronomical wonder far from city lights under the celebrated dark skies of the desert southwest. From high atop Kitt Peak, you will experience the night sky while professional astronomers work in the observatories all around you.

The evening begins with a light meal which includes your choice of a turkey or vegetarian sandwich, bottle water and a snack, followed by a dramatic sunset viewing. Then the guides will help you use star charts to locate constellations and take a binocular tour of the night sky. Lastly, you use the research-class telescopes to visually observe a variety of astronomical objects, while also learning their importance.

Cost is $70 pp that includes round-trip bus ride, light meal, guided tour and four-hour evening program. Sign up at the concierge desk starting mid-March. Watch for the announcement in the What’s Happening. This tour is open to all Quail Creek residents.