Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory

In light of recent public health and safety concerns, Whipple Observatory is closed to the public until further notice, and all public programming and public outreach is suspended until March 31, 2020. We will begin taking tour reservations again when normal operations resume.

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) is the largest field installation of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) outside Cambridge, MA. The site is on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona. The major instrument at the site is the MMT Observatory's 6.5-m diameter optical telescope. The current suite of FLWO telescopes includes a 1.2-m diameter imaging optical telescope; the 1.5-m Tillinghast optical spectroscopic telescope; the HAT (Hungarian-made Automated Telescope) array of five optical telescopes; the MINERVA array of four 70-cm optical telescopes; the MEarth array of eight 40-cm optical telescopes; the Micro Observatory for public education pursuits; the VERITAS array of four 12-m telescopes for gamma-ray astronomy; and the prototype Schwarzschild-Couder telescope for gamma-ray astronomy.

STAR STORIES -- The oral tradition of preserving memory through stories told about the night sky has preserved cultures as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Whipple Observatory and KGVY radio are reviving this tradition, and we want to know about your first, best, or most important interaction with the night sky to help us honor the connection between our dark sky communities and our amazing universe. (Click here to learn more.)

There is NO PUBLIC ACCESS to the Observatory past the gate at the 12km mark. No hikers, cyclists, or public vehicles allowed past this point.

For an up-to-date calendar of events for FLWO, please visit our Facebook page.


Public Tours, Lectures & Visitors Center (520) 879-4407
Site Director: Dr. Pascal Fortin (520) 879-4419
Public Affairs: Amy Oliver (520) 879-4406