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Maunakea Visitor's Guidelines

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Gemini Observatory does not offer regularly scheduled public tours of our facilities in Hawaii and Chile. However, we make every effort to accommodate teacher/student groups and professionals involved in activities related to astronomical research/engineering. The following should be considered before making a tour request:

  • Individuals under 16 years of age are not permitted within the Gemini North facility (or on the upper elevations of Mauna Kea);
  • Youth between 16-18 require parent/guardian signature/permission to visit Gemini North;
  • Gemini cannot provide tours for ANY commercial group where a “for-profit” company is involved in organizing or charging for any aspect of a tour group’s itinerary;
  • Anyone with pre-existing health issues that might be exacerbated by extreme altitude should not plan to visit Gemini North without a doctor’s evaluation (Gemini North is located at an altitude of about 4200 meters/13,800 feet and atmospheric pressure is 40% lower than at sea level resulting in 40% less oxygen available to your body);
  • Advance planning is required and any requests less that two weeks prior to a planned visitation will have significantly reduced chances of approval;
  • Tours are not allowed during engineering shut-down periods;
  • Gemini cannot offer transportation - appropriate transportation is the responsibility of the group coordinators;
  • Weekend tours are only possible in special cases, require at least two months advance scheduling, and will often be denied due to staff scheduling limitations;
  • Unless special arrangements are made at least two months prior to the tour date, tours are limited to a maximum of 12 individuals at Gemini North. Please note special arangments must be made with the Mauna Kea Support Services for groups of more than 10;
  • Evening tours at the summit are no longer scheduled due to changes in night time staffing;
  • Authorized (and permitted) media will be accommodated upon special request;
  • There is no charge for approved groups visiting either Gemini facility;
  • All tour participants must sign and return (email preferred or fax: 808-974-2589) Maunakea Observatories Visitor Waiver , and read the Gemini (Maunakea Observatory Guidlines for Gemini North) Safety Guidelines (English | Spanish) prior to departing sea-level for any visit to the Gemini telescope facilities;
  • Film and video production teams must have all appropriate state film permits and permissions (can take 3-4 weeks).

More Information:

If you feel that your group meets the requirements listed above and would like to request a tour, please contact:

General Educational/Profession tours (Gemini North): Please submit a request via our tour application website.

Media/Film visits (Gemini North): You will also need to submit a request via the tour app as well as get a permit from the Office of Mauna Kea Management.  

For more information on Mauna Kea tour companies, evening stargazing and media film permits see the Mauna Kea Visitors Center website

Note: most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles on Mauna Kea, please allow for extra expense and lead-time to secure transportation rentals (4-wheel drive) for visiting Mauna Kea.

If you decide not to request a tour of Gemini, please ask for one of our Virtual Tour CD-ROMS by e-mailing us here.  In the e-mail be sure to include your name and full mailing address.

Visitas al telescopio Gemini South.