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Spiral galaxy M 31

Starburst galaxy NGC 3683

Irregular galaxy NGC2537

Spiral Galaxy NGC 2403

Markarian's Chain of Galaxies in the Virgo Cluster

Edge-on Sjpiral NGC 891


Saturday, July 18, 2009 (rain or shine)

About the Tour

The Palomar Observatory is a world class center of astronomical research that is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology.  The observatory is home to five telescopes that are nightly used for a wide variety of research programs.  The research is conducted by Caltech faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students, and by researchers at Caltech’s collaborative institutions.  This tour will cover the history and current operations of the 200-inch Hale Telescope.

The Palomar Observatory tour is an all day event, which includes:

  • tour inside the dome and view the 200-inch Hale Telescope up close
  • listen to an overview of the observatory history
  • visit the control room
  • watch how they clean and re-coat the primary mirror
  • tour the cat-walk on the dome and observe other telescopes in the vicinity
  • view the instrument bay and see how the instruments are interchanged

Please be advised that the tours involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing. Wheelchair access can be accommodated with advance notice, however wheelchairs cannot be provided. Also, children under 18 are not permitted.

ITINERARY (tentative, subject to change):
  • 7:30am – Checkin and assemble at Pasadena Convention Center
  • 8:00am - Bus leaves Pasadena Convention Center
  • 11:30am – Arrival at Palomar Observatory and begin guided tour
  • 1:00pm – Tour museum (on own) and box lunch (provided)
  • 2:00pm - Depart for Pasadena Convention Center
  • 6:00pm – Arrive back to Pasadena Convention Center

Note: Times are approximate.


Complimentary round trip bus transportation will be provided between the Pasadena Convention Center and Palomar Observatory.


A box lunch will be provided.  The bus will make a brief lunch / stretch stop on the way to the observatory.


Open-toed shoes and high-heel shoes are not recommended for the trip to the Palomar Observatory.  Also, the interior of the 200-inch dome is kept at nighttime temperatures (for an elevation of 5,500 feet.)  Please dress accordingly.  The tour will proceed rain or shine!

A current weather forecast for Palomar Mountain can be obtained at:


Current temperatures inside the dome are at:


General information about the observatory is available at


  • Reservations must be made on-line at the time of registration, and will be booked on a first come basis
  • A maximum of 30 can be accommodated on the tour (if this capacity is exceeded, a wait list will be generated in case there are cancellations)
  • A separate fee is required for the tour at time of registration, $60 US.

For Further Information: http://smc-it.org/palomar_tour.htm

Egg Nebula

Eagle Nebula

Ring Nebula

Crab Nebula

Flame Nebula

Dumbbell Nebula

Horsehead Nebula

California Nebula

North American Nebula

IC 1396 in Cepheus

Pelican Nebula in Cygnus

Red Square Nebula

First Brown Dwarf

Globular Star cluster M5

Deep Impact Comet Tempel 1

Deep Impact Comet Tempel 1

Deep Impact Comet Tempel 1

For more information contact: info@SMC-IT.org   .   Copyright 2009 SMC-IT 2009. All rights reserved.      .       Webmaster: klittle@smc-it.org