Chiricahua Astronomy Complex

The Chiricahua Astronomy Complex is a new dark sky complex under development by the Tucson Astronomical and Astronautical Association (TAAA). The organization has announced it is currently developing the dark sky complex that will include 17 sites for personal observatories and 3 large dob pads.

The new complex is named the Chiricahua Astronomy Complex (CAC) located in SE Arizona and offers a complete observing experience.  The Chiricahua Astronomy Complex is on 16 acres of land in the dry desert of Southern Arizona, at 4,800 feet elevation in Pearce, AZ.

Located an hour southwest of Tucson, the site is bordered by the Chiricahua mountains on the east and the Dragoon mountains on the west, so its sky is isolated from city lights. The location is remote enough to expect pristine skies for years to come, but its amenities are complete enough to make observing quite comfortable.

Chiricahua Astronomy ComplexThis property, owned by the TAAA, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, has a full complement of services including electricity, sleeping rooms, rest rooms, classroom space, showers, kitchen facilities, sky monitoring systems, security cameras, water and high-speed fiber-optic broadband service.

The strategic plan for the TAAA dark site at CAC contains plans for the observatories, leased and operated by members. If someone is interested in securing an observatory spot and is not a member, they can simply join the association and then make arrangements to participate in the complex.

The association has PDFs of the current Dark Site Master Site Plan and the detail of the Member Observatory Layout.

The observatories will have a common roll off roof design, permitted by the county and constructed with oversite by TAAA.  Initial proposals for the observatory’s design have been received from vendors Tuff Shed  and from Backyard Observatories. They will be flanked  to the east by a trio of large pads with storage containers to house large Dobsonian scopes.

The use of each member observatory will be governed by a long term agreement between the member and TAAA.  The equipment installed in the observatory will be determined by and owned by the respective members.

Shown Image 1 is a view of the Chiricahua Astronomy Complex looking east over the parking area to the current observatories, member pads, and sleeping rooms under construction with the Chiricahua mountains in the distance.

For further information about the project can be obtained from the Member Observatory Coordinator at or by going to the Chiricahua Astronomy Complex webpage.

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