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A visitor at the Kitt Peak Visitor Center enjoys a view of sunspots through telescope outfitted with a solar filter. D. Isbell, NOAO/AURA/NSF

A scientifically literate workforce is a national imperative in today’s technical, rapidly-changing world, and this effort begins with early K education on through 12.  Arizona is uniquely positioned with a strong economic base, coupled with superb environmental conditions, to support an industry that has been recognized continually with major funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and other granting organizations to further educational advancement and entrepreneurial partnerships in a field that inspires young minds like no other: astronomy and planetary science.

Arizona’s astronomy and planetary science institutions are deeply committed to educating the STEM-literate workforce, and to developing connections among education and industry, that will ensure the competitiveness of our state – and our nation – in the modern world.

UA Science: Sky School students outside 32-inch Schulman  telescope on Mt. Lemmon.
Copyright ©2011-2012. Arizona Board of Regents

The Planetary Science Institute provides support to astronomy-related programs such as this solar observing event for Girl Scouts. PSI

Participants in the University of Arizona Teen Astronomy Summer Camp working with a projected image of the Sun.
Copyright © 2016 Astronomy Camp

Outreach and Resources

NASA/Arizona Space Grant Consortium (AZSGC) mission is to expand opportunities for Americans to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, engineering education, research, and delivering high quality public education programs.

Planetary Science Institute (PSI) provides professional development to formal and informal educators to help students engage with current NASA data. The PSI was recently granted $2.6 million as a team member on a five-year, NASA-funded effort to invite the world to join in exploring our universe by enabling everyday people to help NASA scientists make new discoveries.

Lowell Observatory has one of the largest and most comprehensive astronomy outreach programs in the nation.  Its tours and nighttime observing sessions attract some 100,000 visitors per year to its campus in Flagstaff.  Its Navajo-Hopi Outreach Programs connects professional astronomers with middle school teachers and classes on the nearby reservations, encouraging a lifelong understanding of science for all (and advanced study for some), and providing teachers with resources they need to incorporate astronomy in their classrooms.

Center for Astronomy Education in Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona aims to develop and understand best practices in science education.

National Optical Astronomy Observatories Education & Public Outreach provides teacher partnerships such as Project ASTRO, teaching kits such as Quality Lighting Teaching Kit, citizen science projects such as Globe at Night and more.

Astronomy Camp is all about discovering the Eureka moment! Under the dark skies of Southern Arizona, students of all ages explore “the heavens” with large telescopes and experience the excitement of scientific inquiry.

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter is an exceptional science learning facility located at Steward Observatory’s “sky island” observing site just north of Tucson, Arizona. The SkyCenter builds upon the uniqueness of the 9,157 feet summit of Mt. Lemmon and on the extensive knowledge base at the University of Arizona to deliver educational adventures including: SkyNights observing program; AstronomerNights small group observing program, and Workshops focusing on a science or art topic for several days.

Located at the base of Mt. Hopkins in the Santa Rita Mountains, 56 kilometers (35 miles) south of Tucson and just within the boundary of the Coronado National Forest, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory Visitors Center features displays and exhibits on astronomy and astrophysics, natural science, and cultural history. All exhibits and public areas are accessible; and, major exhibit titles have been translated into Spanish. Amateur astronomers are invited to bring their telescopes to the “Astronomy Vista,” a special observing site with concrete pads and benches along a knoll at an elevation of 1524 meters (5000 feet) approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) east of the Visitors Center on a paved road. The Visitors Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Observatory generally conducts guided tours for the general public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from mid-March through November. Since 1970, the Observatory has conducted a winter public lecture series in Green Valley, Ariz. For current information on all FLWO public programs visit

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