MMT Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona
MMT Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona Photo: Howard Lester

Astronomy in ArizonaA behind-the-scenes astronomy tour

Sep 21 - 25, 2014
Enjoy exclusive observatory visits and skywatching in the southwest
Starting at $2,695
Call 855-330-1542 or Ask Us a Question
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Overview
Few places on Earth offer better opportunities to study astronomy than the ultra-clear skies of southern Arizona. Join us on a spectacular intergalactic journey and discover for yourself an infinite array of celestial phenomena during hands-on telescope viewing, in-depth lectures, and tours of some of the world’s great centers for inter-galactic research. Spend a full day at Kitt Peak National Observatory, featuring the world’s most diverse collection of astronomical observatories. Tour the Mayall 4-meter optical telescope and the McMath Solar telescope and more! Journey to Smithsonian’s Whipple Observatory located high atop Mt. Hopkins, the second highest peak in the Santa Rita range of the Coronado National Forest, for a VIP tour of the massive 6.5 Meter Mirror Telescope (MMT) and other powerful optical telescopes. You’ll also enjoy an exciting “star party” at the San Pedro Observatory, located deep in the Sonoran desert, where you’ll have the opportunity to look through 20” scopes and smaller telescopes set up throughout the inn. Enjoy sumptuous meals and attend exclusive discussions on the structure of the universe and other mysteries of the sky. Limited to 32 participants.

Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at the top of the page!

Itinerary
September 21 — Tucson

Individual arrivals at the Arizona Inn in Tucson. Join fellow travelers and Study Leader David Aguilar for a welcome reception, opening remarks and dinner. (R, D)

September 22 — Kitt Peak National Observatory
Spend a day at Kitt Peak National Observatory located 60 miles southwest of Tucson in the Schuk Toak District on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. Kitt Peak has the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes. Visit the McMath Pierce Solar Telescope, the largest in the world, the 2.1 meter scope, and the Mayall 4 meter scope. Retun to the hotel to relax before you receive a lecture by David Aguilar on Cosmic Time Machines. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner after the lecture. (L, D)

September 23 — Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
Gather for a lecture by David Aguilar on Constellation Hopping. This afternoon depart for lunch in downtown Tucson. Continue on to the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory and board smaller vehicles for a drive up to Mt. Hopkins. Gather at Observatory Ridge to view several reflector telescopes including the 1.2- and 1.5-meter telescopes and the 10-meter-diameter optical reflector used for gamma ray studies. Then visit the 6.5-meter Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT). Explore the MMT housing, a four-story structure of offices, workshops, and computer labs that rotate with the instrument during the nightly observations. Afterwards, join astronomers for a catered dinner. Descend Mt. Hopkins and view the skies through smaller telescopes at the visitor’s center. (L, D)

September 24 — Triangle T Ranch & San Pedro Valley Observatory
Enjoy your morning at leisure at the hotel. Our morning lecture series by David Aguilar includes The 40-minute Universe and The Outer Limits and Beyond. Late this afternoon depart for Dragoon, Arizona and the Triangle T Ranch for a Southwest inspired BB-Q. Continue on to the San Pedro Valley Observatory in Benson, Arizona. Take a look into the dark skies of Southern Arizona through 20” scopes and smaller telescopes set up throughout the inn. (L, D)

September 25 — Depart
Individual departures from hotel.