Touring observatories will require particpants to travel to mountain ridges. If you have any concerns about your health or traveling to higher altitude, please contact your physician prior to registering for this program.Kitt Peak National Observatory is located at approximately 6,800 feet above sea level. We will travel by private motor coach and the journey will be entirely on paved road.
Kitt Peak National Observatory: 6,875 ft. elevation
Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory: 8,500 ft. elevation
San Pedro Valley Observatory: 3,586 ft. elevation
Smithsonian’s Whipple Observatory is located approximately 8,500 feet above sea level. There is a narrow roadway leading up the mountain from the Visitor’s Center so it is necessary to leave our motor coach at the visitor’s center and ride in smaller vehicles to reach the summit. The ride from the visitor’s center to the ridge is about 30-40 minutes each way.
San Pedro Valley Observatory is located outside of Benson, Arizona and the altitude is minimal. You will be standing a great deal of time to look through a variety of telescopes. Keep in mind that for optimal viewing conditions, viewing areas will be kept as dark as possible. Even a small flashlight can affect the eyes and obstruct viewing. There will be plenty of areas outside the viewing “rooms” to rest and talk. The observatory is casual and an enjoyable environment for your sky-gazing experience.