Join us on a spectacular intergalactic journey and study astronomy amid the ultra-clear skies of southern Arizona.

Starting at: $3,490 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 MMT Observatory, Mount Hopkins.   Credit: Howard Lester  A gibbous moon overlooks one of Smithsonian's telescope domes, opening to prepare for night observation.  Credit: David Aguilar  A 10-meter-diameter telescope, which searches for flashes of light created when gamma rays hit Earth's atmosphere. Credit: David Aguilar  Sky watching through one of many telescopes at Smithsonian's Whipple Observatory. Credit: David Aguilar  The Observatory's giant gamma-ray telescope. Credit: David Aguilar

Astronomy in Arizona

Featuring Smithsonian’s Whipple Observatory

5 days from $3,490

Join us on a spectacular intergalactic journey and study astronomy amid the ultra-clear skies of southern Arizona.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Arizona Astronomy… a trip for the mind and soul! 

- John H.

The excitement of learning in-depth astronomy made me feel like a kid - I was not the only participant who made this exclamation. 

- June V.

Been to China, Antarctica, Italy, Hawaii, Arizona - all with extremely competent, friendly, and helpful leaders - I'll be back! 

- Doublas C.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by October 25, 2019!

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 astronomical research.

Highlights Include: 

  • Fascinating Presentations: Enjoy in-depth discussions on astronomy with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, David Aguilar, former  Director of Science Information with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Spend a morning exploring this spectacular 98-acre museum with 230 animal species, 1,200 types of plants and miles of walking paths. 
  • Smithsonian’s Whipple Observatory: Gain special insight during an exclusive VIP visit to see the massive 6.5 Meter Mirror Telescope (MMT).
  • University of Arizona Steward Observatory, Mirror Lab: Tour this incredible scientific facility producing the most advanced giant telescope mirrors in the world.
  • University of Arizona Steward Observatory, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter: View planets, stars, and galaxies through the center’s 32-inch Shulman telescope and smaller telescopes.

Arizona Astronomy… a trip for the mind and soul! 

- John H.

The excitement of learning in-depth astronomy made me feel like a kid - I was not the only participant who made this exclamation. 

- June V.

Been to China, Antarctica, Italy, Hawaii, Arizona - all with extremely competent, friendly, and helpful leaders - I'll be back! 

- Doublas C.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Tucson, Arizona

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

Day 2 — Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum / Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory

Breakfast is on your own each morning during your stay at the hotel. Depart early in the day for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for a guided tour of this 98-acre site featuring a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery and natural history museum. Enjoy a casual buffet lunch and free time to explore the museum independently. Continue on to Smithsonian’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory then board smaller vehicles for a drive up to Mt. Hopkins. Gather at Observatory Ridge at 7,600 feet elevation 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. Join astronomers from Smithsonian’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory for a buffet dinner at the Astronomers’ Quarters. They will greet guests and talk informally over dinner. After dinner, explore the night skies through smaller telescopes while still on the mountain ridge. The long and exciting day comes to an end with transfer back to Tucson, arriving back near midnight. (L,D)

Day 3 — University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mirror Lab

After a late night, the morning will be at leisure. After lunch in downtown Tucson, take a tour of the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. This large-scale scientific production facility is using innovative engineering and optical technology that melds with manufacturing techniques to produce the largest and most advanced giant (8.4 meters / 27 ft) telescope mirrors in the world. The Mirror Lab is currently working on a Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), as well as a 6.5-meter mirror and more. After your return to the hotel there’s time to relax before gathering in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a presentation by your Smitsonian Journeys Expert, David Aguilar. Enjoy dinner after the lecture at the hotel. (L,D)

Day 4 — University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mt. Lemmon Sky Center

Enjoy your morning at leisure, then join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, David Aguilar, for an intriguing discussion. Afterward, lunch will be served at the hotel. This afternoon, depart for the picturesque mountains north and east of Tucson. Late in the day, arrive at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter at an elevation of 9,175 feet. After a light meal there will be an opening presentation, then as the sky darkens, look into the night skies of Southern Arizona. You’ll have the opportunity to view through the center’s new 32” Shulman telescope at planets, galaxies, and nebulae. Through interactive demonstrations, you’ll learn how to photograph stars and planets, use sky charts to view the night sky and more! (L,D)

Day 5 — Depart

Individuals depart the hotel for Tucson International Airport.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)