The University of Arizona’s astronomically sized addition to Mount Lemmon is one of our all-time favorite spots to visit while in Tucson, the incredibly peaceful, amazing, and picturesque SkyCenter. This spot serves as an exceptional science learning facility at Steward Observatory’s ‘Sky Island’, located just north of Tucson within the Santa Catalina Mountain Range. This spot provides guests with a colder, quieter look at the beauty that is Tucson, as well as seemingly endless information on local and military history, astronomy and science, and local geography and culture! This is one of those spots students love to go to because they learn without being told that they are going to learn, the lessons all fun and beautiful and easy to catch during your intriguing visit.
Owned by the University of Arizona, as mentioned before, this spot puts on several different programs for guests that are equal parts education and entertainment. For instance, if you choose to visit this spot more toward the end of your day you can take part in Sky Nights, an evening filled with star charts, binoculars, and telescopes, or Astronomer Nights, a more official overnight stay here that is so scientifically accurate, even astronauts are signing up (really)! Astronomer Nights gives guests access to the 32 inch Schulman Telescope, the largest publically accessible one in the Southwest, one person or two people at a time, each person attended to by their own guide/astronomer. This option also gives you lodging and images from the telescope to enlarge and take home, a really great experience for science/star lovers. You can also choose to take part in a science or art workshop from the university while here, each option with several in-depth and hands-on activities for guests.
Remember, while today you are here checking for ‘nebulae, stars, and exotic objects in space’, not too long ago this spot was used to spot missiles and planes during the Cold War. It is important to know and understand this during your visit, so you can see how important the 3 high power long-range radar sets used here at the ‘world's highest continuously operated radar station’ were from ‘56 to ‘69.
Perseid Meteor Shower 2013 at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter from Adam Block on Vimeo.