Telescopes on Kitt PeakKitt Peak National Observatory from above. Photo credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

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 NSF’s OIR Lab. KPNO operates the 4-m Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope on behalf of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey (a Department of Energy Office of Science-led project) and the 3.5-m WIYN Telescope (a partnership between the Indiana University, UC-Irvine, the University of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Purdue University, the NSF and NASA) and hosts the facilities of consortia which operate between them more than a dozen optical telescopes and two radio telescopes (see the Tenant Observatories list).

NSF logoKPNO is located 90 km (56 miles) southwest of Tucson, AZ, at an altitude of 2096 m (6877 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.

KPNO is operated by the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, which is managed under a cooperative agreement with NSF by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).