A holiday message from the Rubin Construction and Rubin Operations leadership teams: It has been a challenging and productive year for the Rubin Observatory team. We are thankful for having the opportunity to work on s...
Science Release: 1 Feb. 2023 — noirlab2303
First Kilonova Progenitor System Identified
Astronomers using data from the SMARTS 1.5-meter Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF's NOIRLab, have made the first confirmed detection of a star system that will one day form a kilonova — the ultra-powerful, gold-producing explosion created by merging neutron stars. These systems are so phenomenally rare that only about 10 such systems are thought to exist in the entire Milky Way.
Organization Release: 19 Jan. 2023 — noirlab2302
Stars Disappear Before Our Eyes, Citizen Scientists Report
A startling analysis from Globe at Night — a citizen science program run by NSF’s NOIRLab — concludes that stars are disappearing from human sight at an astonishing rate. The study finds that, to human eyes, artificial lighting has dulled the night sky more rapidly than indicated by satellite measurements. The study published in the journal Science showcases the unique contributions that citizen scientists can make in essential fields of research.
Organization Release: 18 Jan. 2023 — noirlab2301
Billions of Celestial Objects Revealed in Gargantuan Survey of the Milky Way
Astronomers have released a gargantuan survey of the galactic plane of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial objects — arguably the largest such catalog so far. The data for this unprecedented survey were taken with the Dark Energy Camera, built by the US Department of Energy, at the NSF’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NOIRLab.
Science Release: 7 Dec. 2022 — noirlab2228
Kilonova Discovery Challenges our Understanding of Gamma-Ray Bursts
While studying the aftermath of a long gamma-ray burst (GRB), two independent teams of astronomers using a host of telescopes in space and on Earth, including the Gemini North telescope on Hawai‘i and the Gemini South telescope in Chile, have uncovered the unexpected hallmarks of a kilonova, the colossal explosion triggered by colliding neutron stars. This discovery challenges the prevailing theory that long GRBs exclusively come from supernovae, the end-of-life explosions of massive stars.
Science Release: 4 Nov. 2022 — noirlab2227
Astronomers Discover Closest Black Hole to Earth
Astronomers using the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab, have discovered the closest-known black hole to Earth. This is the first unambiguous detection of a dormant stellar-mass black hole in the Milky Way. Its close proximity to Earth, a mere 1600 light-years away, offers an intriguing target of study to advance our understanding of the evolution of binary systems.
Gemini North Primary Mirror Status
For updates on the status of the Gemini North primary mirror, please visit this page.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Measures at NOIRLab
We are currently only hosting public visitors at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Given the continuously evolving nature of the pandemic, we currently do not have a reopening date for our other summit sites or base facilities. When these dates are available we will share them on our website and social media. The timeline may be different for each site.
NOIRLab’s Catharine Garmany Named 2022 AAAS Fellow
Catharine Garmany, Scientist Emerita at NSF’s NOIRLab, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Garmany was elected as ...
New Project Director for NOIRLab US-ELT Program Appointed
NOIRLab is pleased to announce the appointment of Lucas Macri as the new Project Director of NOIRLab’s part of the US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP). The US-ELTP is a joint initiative of NSF’s NOIRLab and the organizations building the Gia...
Rubin Digest 25 January 2023
Project & Science News
Rubin Observatory was highly visible at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS241) in Seattle WA on January 8-12. In addition to numerous presentations and posters highlighting Rubin/LSST science, Rubin...
NSF and SpaceX Sign Agreement to Mitigate Impact of Starlink Satellites on Ground-Based Astronomy
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and SpaceX have finalized a coordination agreement to mitigate the impact of the company’s Starlink satellites on ground-based radio-, optical-, and infrared-astronomy facilities. The NSF’s public statement is here...
January Issue of the NOIRLab Mirror Newsletter Published
The fourth (January 2023) edition of The NOIRLab Mirror newsletter is now available. This biannual publication focuses on news for the NOIRLab community and showcases the science, technology, and developments across the five NOIRLab Programs: the Commu...
International Gemini Observatory Launches New Logo
The International Gemini Observatory has unveiled a new logo that celebrates the combined legacy of the twin Gemini telescopes and their new capabilities and instrumentation.
The redesigned logo retains the classic gold-color concept from its predece...
New Publications Highlight the Unparalleled Capabilities of NSF’s NOIRLab
The more we learn about the Universe, the more questions we uncover. To help astronomers continue this journal of discovery, NOIRLab provides some of the most advanced tools, facilities, and instruments to the international research community. These re...
Public Visits Restarting at NSF’s NOIRLab Cerro Tololo in Chile
NSF’s NOIRLab is proud to announce the planned restart of public visits at its Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.
Visits to our scientific facilities are only one of many ways NOIRLab helps share the wonders of discovery and the ...
IAU, NOIRLab, and SKAO Statement on BlueWalker 3
The International Astronomical Union, NSF’s NOIRLab, and the SKA Observatory unite to express their concern about the recently launched prototype BlueWalker 3 satellite’s impact on astronomy. New measurements reveal that this low Earth orbiting satelli...
Rubin Digest 22 November 2022
Project & Science News
On Cerro Pachón, the Commissioning team recently took preliminary data with the Star Tracker, which was installed on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) in early November. During this engineering campaign, they achieved focus...
Viaje al Universo is Back in the Classrooms
With the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, the Gemini/NOIRLab flagship STEM education program in Chile, Viaje al Universo, returns to classrooms 14–18 November 2022 as a hybrid event featuring three face-to-face and two virtual sessio...
Rubin Digest 09 November 2022
Project & Science News
In early November, the Rubin team installed an instrument called the StarTracker on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA). The StarTracker will be used to verify pointing requirements for the TMA on the summit, and was develope...
NOIRLab/Gemini Welcomed Visitors to AstroDay 2022 in Kona
Together with the other Maunakea Observatories (MKOs), the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF's NOIRLab, celebrated AstroDay Kona with families and friends of all ages on Saturday, 5 November 2022. A free event held outdoors at the Kona ...
Gemini North Shutdown Extended Following Incident During Mirror Movement
Update 25 January 2023:
The Observatory now has a signed agreement in place with Safran-REOSC for the preparatory work, glass repair, and lateral-pad removal for the primary mirror at Gemini North and Safran-REOSC has begun their preparatory work. Our...
Beyond Me: A Journey with Music and Sounds Through Space, Art, and Technology
|Update 30 October 2022: The event has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a future date.|
On 4 November 2022 ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, with support from the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF's NOIRLab, will present ...
Rubin Digest 25 October 2022
Project & Science News
On October 17th, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visited SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for a tour of the Linac Coherent Light Source and the Rubin Obs...
Visit All of NOIRLab, Virtually!
For many astronomy enthusiasts, few things instill as much excitement as visiting one of the world-class telescopes and research centers that are part of NSF’s NOIRLab. From the remote and rugged mountains of Chile to the towering slopes of Maunakea, f...
Alejandra Voigt Appointed Vice President and Head of Mission for AURA Observatory in Chile
Alejandra Voigt has been appointed the Head of Mission for AURA Observatory in Chile (AURA-O), which represents AURA in that country, and Vice President of AURA.
Voigt comes to AURA from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), where s...
Rubin Digest 12 October 2022
Project & Science News
Representatives from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) visited the Rubin construction site on Cerro Pachón on September 27th to view construction progress and interact with Rubin lea...
25 Jan. 2023 — iotw2304
High, Dry and Covered in Snow
18 Jan. 2023 — iotw2303
A Breeze of Color
11 Jan. 2023 — iotw2302
An Expansive Universe
4 Jan. 2023 — iotw2301
Triple Stellar Treat
28 Dec. 2022 — iotw2252
Silent Night, Starry Night
21 Dec. 2022 — iotw2251
Happy Holidays 2022
14 Dec. 2022 — iotw2250
Big Telescope, Bigger Moon
7 Dec. 2022 — iotw2249
Coloring the Night
30 Nov. 2022 — iotw2248
Mauna Loa Lava and Light Pillar Caught on Camera from Gemini North
23 Nov. 2022 — iotw2247
26 Jan. 2023
Photographing the World at Night: First of NOIRLab’s Ambassadors Program
6 Jan. 2023
Science Shines Bright at the ‘World Cup’ of Astronomy and Astrophysics
8 Dec. 2022
New images of a planetary nebula suggest a cosmic crime scene
23 Nov. 2022
60 Years of Discovery from Cerro Tololo, the Observatory on the ‘Edge of the Abyss’
12 Oct. 2022
Rings around a rosy star system are destined for interstellar space
From the first observations in 1965, Cerro Tololo, located in Chile, has served as the principal platform for U.S. astronomical investigation of the southern skies.
Programs within the Community Science and Data Center support and enable a broad range of astronomical community science activities across the US ground-based optical and infrared system.
Founded in 1958, Kitt Peak National Observatory is home to one of the largest arrays of optical and radio telescopes in the world.
The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet.
Vera C. Rubin Observatory, currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile, is an 8-meter-class telescope coupled to a 3.2-gigapixel camera – the world’s largest digital camera ever fabricated for optical astronomy.