Celebrating 75 Years of Discovery

About Palomar Observatory

Aerial view of Palomar Observatory. (Palomar/Caltech)

Palomar Observatory, located atop Palomar Mountain in north San Diego County, California, is a center of astronomical research owned and operated by Caltech. The Observatory is home to three active research telescopes: the 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope, the 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope, and the 60-inch (1.5-meter) telescope. Research at Palomar Observatory is pursued by a broad community of astronomers from Caltech and other domestic and international partner institutions.

Conceived of almost a hundred years ago, Palomar Observatory has been at the forefront of astronomical research since mid-century. Today, the Observatory operates every clear night and is an iconic facility for scientific advancement, instrument development, and student training.

The different sections of this website touch on the various aspects of the Observatory—the place, the science, the tradition, and the people who have made it special—as well as provide information on visiting logistics and how to get involved in its continuing mission.

Our Mission

About Palomar Observatory, its telescopes, science, and mission. Duration: 2:48 min. (Palomar/Caltech)

The Observatory's mission is to:

  • Continue Palomar's distinguished tradition of compelling scientific investigations in astronomy and astrophysics;
  • Provide facilities for the training of the next generation of astronomers;
  • Support the development of state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation; and
  • Inclusively share the Observatory's research mission and tradition with students and the general public, thereby supporting awareness and enthusiasm for science and technology and the roles they play in our society.

Questions? We've answered many common visiting, media, and academic questions in our public FAQ page.
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Last updated: 3 May 2021 AFB/SBF/ACM