Kitt Peak
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Stargazing Near 'the Navel of the World'
About an hour and fifteen minutes southwest of Tucson rises Kitt Peak—a 6875-ft mountain crowned with the world's largest concentration of optical telescopes, radio telescopes, and the world's largest solar telescope. And just south of Kitt Peak, the highest mountain in the range is Baboquivari (7730ft/2356m), believed to be the navel of the world, in local Tohono O'odham native cosmology. What better place to gaze up and contemplate the vastness of the night sky than here in this desert? Drive up in the day, and you can either take a guided tour or wander around the telescopes on your own. At night, with advance planning, as part of the "Nightly Observing Program," get up close to distant planets and galaxies... You can even reserve online, but the observatory recommends doing so two to four weeks in advance...and bring a blanket; nights are cold on this desert mountaintop. (And from July 15 to September 1, it's closed for monsoon season.)
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