7 Arizona Observatories to Visit for Incredible Stargazing
Patti was born in Singapore, grew up in Taiwan, and has visited 25 different countries which have been the fuel for her love of travel writing and sharing those experiences with others. She is a local Arizona travel expert, and has a passion for outdoor activities. She is the co-author of the children's book "Tony Visits Washington."
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Arizona is unique in that there aren’t as many bright lights in cities and towns, which benefits the large astronomy community. Even though it makes it a little tougher at night to drive, the dark skies are amazing to look at from almost anywhere! Here are the top observatories that any astronomy lover would enjoy.
The SkyCenter, located near the mountain town of Summerhaven, is the property of the University of Arizona. The “StarGazing” events happen on most weekends with great weather, and are fantastic for beating the heat while getting to appreciate Mother Nature!
Kitt Peak is roughly 55 miles southwest of Tucson and is a popular place to visit for natives and tourists alike. It sits on a mountain top at an elevation of 2,096 meters and overlooks the beautiful Arizona-Sonoran desert.
Safford is a town with fantastic astronomy options, and the Mount Graham International Observatory that’s located right near the Eastern Arizona College is one of the best in the state. They work closely with the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory.
This has been a functioning observatory in Flagstaff ever since it was founded in 1894, making it one of the oldest in the country. Tourists are welcome to do research, or just visit to admire the stars from the forest.
Located on Mt. Hopkin, Arizona, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is one of the few in the state that’s owned and operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts. People can access the Visitors Center most days from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
The next time you’re visiting the University of Arizona, be sure to stop by this observatory. They have a telescope, interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and when the weather gets to be nice out they do laser shows in the sky!
To get to the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, visitors have to drive to the scenic town of Safford. Weekend tours are given between May and November, weather permitting, and include getting to look at its three massive, impressive telescopes.