Kitt Peak National Observatory III

Joyce Shumate

TRIPS returns to Kitt Peak for the third time. The Night Sky Observing Program will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 29. This very popular program has in the past sold out within three to four hours.

On a clear night, Kitt Peak is not to be missed or soon forgotten. The nation’s observatory was built there for its dark, frequently clear skies, and you can share these views.

This four-hour program is an introduction and sampler for beginning stargazers. This popular program requires advance reservations. Brief periods of standing and climbing stairs is required to reach the eyepiece for viewing through the telescope.

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 a turkey sandwich, bottled 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 will use the research-class telescopes to visually observe a variety of astronomical objects, while also learning their importance.

Wear layers of clothing, as well as hats and gloves, as it may be warm when we leave, but it can get very cold as the evening progresses because of the high altitude and wind. We will be spending time outside observing the stars, walking from one building to the next, and the observatories are not heated.

A chartered bus will depart from the Madera Clubhouse parking lot at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 29, returning about 11:00 p.m.

The cost is $70 per person, which includes the round-trip bus ride, light meal, guided tour, and four-hour evening program. Sign up at the concierge desk starting in mid-September. Watch for the announcement in What’s Happening. This tour is open to just 50 Quail Creek residents.