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Science Observers at Gemini

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These pages contain information for astronomers visiting Gemini.

Gemini Observatory is pleased to host a variety of science visitors, including Classical observers, Priority Visitor observers, Queue PIs, and members of the National Gemini Offices. Please follow the links below that apply to you:

  • The visit of students is strongly encouraged, and financial support is possible (upon availability). 
  • Astronomers visiting Gemini must read the Instruction for Science Visitors (at Gemini South or at Gemini North).
  • Observers at Gemini North can consult the Observer's Guide in advance as a resource to help with preparing their run.
  • Information about trips to the summit, schedules, and advice about visiting can be found in the Visitor's guide for Gemini South and Gemini North.

Members of the media, the general public, and groups interested in touring our facilities in Hawaii or Chile can find more information in the Learn section of our web site.

Instructions for Science Visitors at Gemini South

Gemini South
Gemini South atop Cerro Pachon, Chilean Andes


Southern Operations Center
c/o Recinto AURA
Colina El Pino s/n 
La Serena, CHILE
Phone 56-51- 2205 600
Fax 56-51-2205 684

-- Arrangements for a Gemini South Observing Run --

When approval has been given and time allocated, the Principal Investigator (P.I.) of the observing team will be notified by his or her National Gemini Office. Once notified, the PI or observer should complete the Liability Notice, and the Emergency Contact documents, fill them out, and return the completed forms by e-mail attachment to Lucia Medina (see below for further contact details) at least 4 weeks prior to your observing run.

Most observations at Gemini South are carried out from the South Base Facility (SBF) in La Serena.  So, for visiting observers there generally is no need to travel to the summit, but instead observations are executed from a fully-equipped control room at sea level, with the appropriate supporting staff. There are few exceptions for which a presence at the summit is still required, so please check with your contact scientist if in doubt.

Visitor's Guide To Gemini South Telescope

-- Travel Arrangements --

Visiting astronomers are responsible for their own air travel arrangements (visas, airline tickets, insurance, funds, etc.) Please note that when observing at La Serena no catering or transport services are provided.  For advice on accommodation facilities and other practical aspects of observing from SBF, please contact Lucia Medina.

Gemini can make hotel and car rental reservations (see important Note) but visitors are responsible for payment of rental car and/or hotel room charges. Lucía can also help you out with hotel accommodation in Santiago and other cities. AURA-O has substantially cheap rates with most hotels in town.

-- Leaving Gemini --

After your observing run is over, it is requested that an Observing Run Report be completed prior to your departure. Papers containing data from the Gemini telescopes should include relevant acknowledgements.

-- Contact --

Lucia Medina (
Phone: +56 (51) 2-205 601
FAX: +56 (51) 2-205 684
Rev 12/05/2016

Instructions for Science Visitors at Gemini North

Gemini North
Sunset Over Gemini North, Mauna Kea, Hawai'i


The Gemini offices in Hilo are located at:

Northern Operations Center
670 N. A'ohoku Place
Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, United States
Phone: (+1) 808 974 2500
Fax: (+1) 808 974 2589

See a map of the local area.


When approval has been given and time allocated, the Principal Investigator (P.I.) of the observing team will be notified by his or her National Gemini Office.

The P.I. or observer should then complete the following forms and forward them by email attachment, fax or mail, to Adrienne.

Adrienne Notley

Please download and submit the following forms for observing from the Base Facility:

IMPORTANT: These documents MUST be completed and returned to Gemini by mail, fax or email attachment (Word, Excel, scanned PDF, JPG or PNG) at least four weeks in advance of your visit.


Visiting astronomers are responsible for arranging and paying for their own travel, including airline tickets, visas, insurance, car rentals, and hotels. In preparation for your visit, please review the Gemini North Visitor's Guide, which includes a list of hotels and car rental agencies, plus maps and information about Hilo and Hawaii Island (the Big Island). A Gemini Travel Coordinator can assist with local arrangements if assistance is needed.


Before you arrive at Gemini North, please contact Adrienne Notley for your safety and operations orientation. A safety briefing and computer virus scan are required and will be arranged prior to your visit.

Also, you can read the Gemini North Visiting Observer's Guide at your convenience before you get to Gemini.
Disclaimer: some links embedded in the document are only available internally at Gemini.


We'd like to know how everything went. Please complete and submit a Feedback form:

Queue Observing Run Feedback Classical Observing Run Feedback

Papers containing data from the Gemini telescopes should include the appropriate acknowledgment. Please see Acknowledging Gemini for more information.

Please read the Gemini image/Video Usage Policy if you wish to use Gemini images and videos.

Please let us know when you've written a paper based on data collected from the Gemini telescopes. See the Gemini Publications page for more information.

"Bring One, Get One” Student Observer Support Program

No BOGO available at the moment.

Because of the global pandemic, we are not accepting visitors until further notice, and the BOGO program remains unavailable.

Statement of Policy and Eligibility

Gemini may subsidize the travel expenses of an individual student, or other early-career observer, when accompanied by an advisor who is an experienced observer on a Gemini Partner observing run. The individual subsidy amount may be up to $2000, and total funds in the program are limted. The goal is to help students gain observing experience with the Gemini telescopes. The student is also encouraged to spend time at the base facility before or after the observing run.


Before travel

1. The science program Principal Investigator (PI) should contact the appropriate site Head of Science Operations (Atsuko Nitta at Gemini North, or René Rutten at Gemini South) to request participation in the student support program. Early contact is best; a minimum of 45 days in advance of travel is required.

The science program PI should provide the following information in the initial contact:

  • science program identification number e.g. GN-2014B-Q-999
  • requested observing dates in local time
  • senior observer name and institution
  • student observer name and institution
  • student observer location for trip origin and return
  • estimate of student observer travel dates
  • a brief (1-paragraph) statement explaining the value of this observing experience for the visitor

2. The site Head of Science Operations has the authority to approve or reject the initial request.

3. Following an approved request, the traveler shall work with Gemini travel services to develop a Travel Request. Gemini can book and pay for travel directly, or can arrange to reimburse expenses to the traveler. Either way, the Gemini travel coordinator will submit a Travel Request, which will serve as the basis for all reimbursement or direct payment.

4. The travel coordinator will inform the traveler and advisor of the Travel Request status. If the Travel Request is approved, the travel coordinator will work with the traveler to develop a specific itinerary and other arrangements.

Eligible expenses and policies

All Gemini travel and procurement policies must be followed in order to use Gemini funds. Some highlights are listed here; additional information is provided in the student travel policy. All expenses to be paid for or reimbursed must be planned in advance, through an approved Travel Request.

  • Gemini requires the use of US flag air carriers under the “Fly America Act” with limited exceptions.
  • A Travel Expense Report will be provided by the Gemini travel coordinator, and the traveler must file it within 10 days after completion of travel.
  • Receipts are required for all expenses except meals and incidentals that are part of per diem policies or those charged directly to Gemini.
  • Gemini will not pay for expenses related to personal travel or user preference that are not essential to the scientific program.

Eligible expenses include:

  • airfare or other transportation to Hilo or La Serena;
  • mountain lodging and meals;
  • shared transport to Cerro Pachón;
  • rental of cold-weather gear (Gemini North only).

After travel

The traveler is responsible for filing the complete travel expense report including providing original receipts, within 10 days of completion of travel. These should be submitted to the local travel coordinator.

Additional Information

General instructions for visitors

Student visitors to Gemini should also be familiar with standard visitor procedures, and they must complete the standard safety forms at least four weeks prior to the visit. Information and links to forms are available from