Starry Skies in Arizona

Opportunities abound in Arizona for viewing celestial sights By: Kelly Rosenfeld
Stargazers can visit a number of observatories while in Arizona, including Kitt Peak National Observatory. // © 2012 Kitt Peak National Observatory
Stargazers can visit a number of observatories while in Arizona, including Kitt Peak National Observatory. // © 2012 Kitt Peak National Observatory

The Details

Lowell Observatory
www.lowell.edu

Meteor Crater
www.meteorcrater.com

Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory
http://mirrorlab.as.arizona.edu

Kitt Peak National Observatory
www.noao.edu

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter
http://skycenter.arizona.edu

Challenger Space Center
www.azchallenger.org

Desert Storm Hummer Tour
www.dshummer.com

Arizona invites locals and visitors to take advantage of statewide opportunities for stargazing and planet viewing.

In northern Arizona, stargazers can visit Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where Pluto was discovered in 1930. A variety of telescopes now allow visitors to discover Pluto and the planets for themselves, via multiple programs. The Meteor Crater Visitor’s Center, near Winslow, is the best preserved meteorite impact site on the planet. Guests can watch a movie on a meteor’s trip to Earth, as well as view the giant crater from three lookout points.

Options in Southern Arizona include behind the scenes tours and more at the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory, located at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Visitors can also see the largest collection of optical telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory, which offers nightly programs and guided tours. The Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter provides opportunities to see the skies and more from a 9,000-foot “sky island” in the mountains.

In central Arizona, the Smithsonian Institution’s Challenger Space Center offers the chance to board a simulation space craft. Another option in the area is the Desert Storm Hummer Tour, to experience the skies in the Four Peaks Mountains far from the city lights. The tour highlights planets and star systems, as well as the Sonoran Desert at night.

All of these options and more make Arizona an ideal location for taking in the celestial sights all throughout the state.

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