Visit All of NOIRLab, Virtually!
NSF’s NOIRLab brings the excitement of astronomy and astrophysics to you through virtual tours!
25 October 2022
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, from the rocky terrain of Kitt Peak to NOIRLab Headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, NOIRLab facilities cross continents and hemispheres to bring the wonder of the Universe to people here on Earth.
Getting to these remote locations, however, can be difficult even for the most adventurous travelers. That is why NOIRLab is now bringing the excitement to you!
NOIRLab is proud to announce the launch of its comprehensive virtual tours, which give special behind-the-scenes access to the science we do and the diverse community that makes astronomy research possible. The entire suite consists of seven different locations, each featuring panoramic images from various areas near the summit and base facilities of all our Programs. Users can move through these spaces and explore each facility using the locations sidebar on the left, or the NOIRLab and Google Map popup window on the right. The virtual tours are loaded with interactive elements for you to explore and learn more about NOIRLab and astronomy. In addition, you can click on the menu icon at the top right corner to reveal more options.
These tours will allow you to experience NOIRLab’s facilities firsthand like never before. From the comfort of your couch and at the touch of your fingertips, you will be able to glimpse the inner workings of our base facilities and immerse yourself in the very same buildings where cutting-edge science is happening — here and now!
PC and Mac, iOS and Android phones, as well as virtual reality headsets are all supported for these tours. While using a mobile device, make sure to enable gyroscope access for the full immersive experience.
The 360-degree panoramas were taken by a group of talented astrophotographers during the post-pandemic NOIRLab 2022 Photo Expedition to all sites in March and April of 2022 (Petr Horálek, Institute of Physics in Opava & Tomas Slovinský) and turned into a virtual tour by Mahdi Zamani from Zamani Visuals. These photos were taken with a high level of care and expertise, and are best explored from within the virtual tour environment in full screen mode.
NOIRLab’s collection of 360-degree panorama pictures can be used for many recreational and educational purposes; alongside being imported into Virtual Reality systems, they can also be uploaded into special software for display in planetariums worldwide. All panoramas are available via this link in resolutions up to 500 megapixels.
Go on an adventure and delve into NOIRLab’s virtual tours today!
NSF’s NOIRLab(National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the International Gemini Observatory(a facility of NSF, NRC–Canada, ANID–Chile, MCTIC–Brazil, MINCyT–Argentina, and KASI–Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and Vera C. Rubin Observatory(operated in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s SLACNational Accelerator Laboratory). It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawai‘i, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O'odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.
Multimedia & Graphics Designer, Virtual Tours Project Lead
Web & Graphics Manager
Public Information Officer
T: +1 202 236 6324