Kitt Peak National Observatory LogoKitt Peak National Observatory

Photograph of Kitt Peak National Observatory


Founded in 1958, Kitt Peak National Observatory is home to one of the largest arrays of optical and radio telescopes in the world.

Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is a Program of the NOIRLab. KPNO operates the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope on behalf of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey (a project led by the US Department of Energy Office of Science) and the WIYN 3.5-meter Telescope (a partnership between Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Purdue University, the NSF and NASA). It also hosts the facilities of consortia that operate between them more than a dozen optical telescopes and two radio telescopes.

KPNO is located 90 km (56 miles) southwest of Tucson, Arizona, at an altitude of 2100 m (7000 ft) in the Schuk Toak District on the Tohono O'odham Nation and has a visitor center open daily and nightly to the public, offering daytime guided tours and a variety of evening stargazing programs.

Kitt Peak National Observatory sits atop I’oligam Du’ag. Astronomers are honored to be permitted to conduct scientific research on I’oligam Du’ag (Manzanita Bush Mountain), in the homeland of the Tohono O’odham Nation. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for time immemorial and will forever call this place home.

KPNO is a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, which is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

Travel information for KPNO is available here.

Learn more on the Kitt Peak website