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

TOUR BROCHURE

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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 December 2, 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 Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.
  • 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.
  • Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory: Gain special insight during an exclusive VIP visit to see the 6.5-meter MMT Observatory telescope and 28 additional telescopes on the largest field site of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.
  • University of Arizona Richard F. Caris 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 24” Phillips 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.

Your day continues with a drive high into the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson to the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, where you see the VERITAS array dedicated to world-class gamma-ray studies, and will board the Observatory bus for a scenic ride up Mt. Hopkins. At 7,600' in elevation, you'll gather at The Ridge to explore telescopes used in exoplanetary, supernovae, metallicity and other galactic and extragalactic studies, including the historic 1.2-m and 1.5m telescopes. A short trip to 8,550' feet in elevation takes you to the 6.5-m MMT Observatory where you will explore the four-story structure of offices, workshops and computer labs that rotate with the instrument during nightly observations. Finally, you'll sit down for a catered buffet dinner in a "room with a view" at the Astronomers' Quarters on The Ridge, where you'll meet and dine with site and visiting astronomers and staff. During and after dinner, join astronomers for night sky and astronomical viewing through small telescopes. 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 Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab

After a late night, the morning will be at leisure. After lunch in downtown Tucson, take a tour of the University of Arizona Richard F. Caris 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 Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab is currently working on the 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 Smithsonian Journeys Expert, David Aguilar. Enjoy dinner after the lecture at the hotel. (L,D)

Day 4 — University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter

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 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 24" Phillips and 32” Shulman telescope at planets, galaxies, and nebulae. (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)