Public Visits

 

This page is dedicated to public visits. During the reservation process for our public visits, you will be asked to read and comply with our regulations. Three different forms will need to be signed:

Book your visit here.

Kitt Peak Visitor Center

NOAO/NSF/AURA

Kitt Peak National Observatory, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona, USA is home to one of the largest arrays of optical and radio telescopes in the world. Alongside its primary role of conducting ground-breaking astronomical research, Kitt Peak is also host to a Visitor Center where daytime guided tours and a variety of evening stargazing programs are available. Please note that no one may visit after dark for any purpose unless registered for one of our evening programs.

  • The Visitor Center is open every day from 9:00 AM to 3:45 pm for daytime visitors and volunteer-led tours.

The Visitor Center is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Sometimes it is closed as a result of unforeseen circumstances, such as environmental events, that are beyond control, so please check before ascending the mountain.

The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is your first stop on any visit and your springboard to informative daytime tours, nighttime stargazing and telescope viewing programs, fascinating exhibits, a terrific gift shop, and beautiful panoramic mountain top views!

Learn more about visit Kitt Peak Visitor Center here.

To explore VIP Program Tours and Events see here.

Travel information is here.


Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

NOAO/NSF/AURA

Cerro Tololo (Chile) is open to the public every Saturday, weather permitting (except at Christmas and New Year’s eve) For safety and security reasons, the number of visitors is limited to groups of 25 people. Our tours start every week:

  • Friday 9:00 am
  • Saturday 9:00 am 
  • Saturday 9:05 am
  • Saturday 1:00 pm
  • Saturday 1:05 pm
The meeting point is the Observatory Gate (Control Puerta). 
 
Travel information is here.

Gemini Observatory

Gemini/NSF/AURA

The Gemini Observatory is an astronomical observatory consisting of two 8.1-meter telescopes, Gemini North and Gemini South, which are located at two separate sites in Hawaii and Chile, respectively. 

Tours to Gemini North on Maunakea usually take place at:

  • 1st Thursday of every month
  • 3rd Thursday of every month

Travel information for Maunakea is here. The meeting point is the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station located on the Maunakea Access Road at 

For Gemini South see Cerro Pachón, Chile below.

 

Cerro Pachón, Chile

CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. Fuentes

  • On Cerro Pachón, Chile, tours start every Thursday at 9 am.

The meeting point is at the Observatory Gate (Control Puerta). 

On the summit, tours change between visits to Gemini South and SOAR. 

Travel information is here.


Gemini North Base Facility, Hilo, Hawai‘i

  •  Tours to the NOIRLab Headquarters take place on the 1st Friday of every month at 10:00 am.

The meeting point is at the Reception. Travel information is here.


AURA Recinto, La Serena, Chile

Tours to the AURA Recinto take place on the :
  • 1st Wednesday of the month 10:00 am.
  • 3rd Wednesday of the month 10:00 am.

The meeting point is at the Reception. Travel information is here.

Rubin Observatory

Vera C. Rubin Observatory/NSF/AURA

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory site at the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile is currently under construction, hence public visits to the site are not allowed.