You are here

Maunakea Visitor's Guidelines

Content owned by anitta

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 prefered 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.