powered by BCT Publishing
Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 2 Iss 1 Page 20

Go Dogs Go!

Tracking the Sun and Stars at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tohono O'odham Reservation, Arizona

By Robyn Larson McCarthy

Perched on a wind-blasted mountaintop named for 19th-century settler Kitt Peak, this site supports the world's most diverse collection of astronomical observatories for nighttime astronomy and daytime study of the Sun. In fact, the magnificently large Sun telescope seen in the smaller photograph here was ranked by The Boy as the best part of our visit. (Only a third of the Sun scope is above ground. Peer down into the angled shaft descending below from the observation room in the building.)

Although the website says dogs are not allowed in the buildings, we had heard rumors to the contrary. And in fact, the friendly woman at the visitor center said Chaucer was welcome inside both of the buildings she recommended we walk to the 2.1-meter telescope and the Sun scope.

Daily guided tours, magnificent views of the surrounding Arizona desert, and the occasional real-life astronomer strolling about the place make this a fun and educational family destination. Pack lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables before you explore. And remember to bring a jacket or heavy shirt from October to late spring. High winds on the top of the largely exposed Kitt Peak mountain can make even the balmiest desert day a chilly one for those not properly dressed.

This review was adapted from ChaucerSeesAmerica.com.