Palomar Observatory Docents

Palomar Observatory's docent volunteers are an important part of the Observatory community, and a central component of our public outreach efforts. Palomar docents give of themselves to share our Palomar traditions with Observatory visitors and our Southern California neighbors. The docents participate in a wide range of activities for the visiting public such as leading tours of the 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope, conducting nighttime programs, and representing the Observatory at external community events.

Become a Palomar Docent

Palomar Observatory docents. (K. Searcy)

A docent working with a visiting group. (Palomar/Caltech)

The Observatory is looking for individuals who are interested in joining our docent group. A candidate does not need to be an astronomer or an expert on the subject of Palomar Observatory to apply. A willingness to learn and to work with Observatory visitors is all that is needed. Applicants chosen for the docent program will receive all the training they will need. Training will include information on the current research and history of the Palomar Observatory, basic astronomy, working with the public and more. Selected docents may be invited to occasional evening visits at the Observatory as a part of their training, giving them the opportunity to see Palomar's telescopes and astronomers in action.

Please be aware that most of our activities take place on weekends. In order to participate, you must have time available on weekends during the summer. As a rule, we ask new Observatory docents to contribute to the program eight weekend days during the period from early April to late October.

Docent Application

If you are interested in becoming a Palomar docent, please contact:

Steve Flanders
Public Event Coordinator
Palomar Observatory
P.O. Box 200
Palomar Mountain, CA 92060-0200
sbf [at]

If you are interested in taking the next step, please complete our Palomar Docent Application (PDF), and send your completed application to Steve Flanders (contact info above).

[Please Note: the above document is in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). If you have difficulty using the document, Adobe's free Acrobat Reader can be used on most systems, and is available for free download.]

All applicants will receive equality of volunteer opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Questions? We've answered many common visiting, media, and academic questions in our public FAQ page.
Please share your feedback on this page at the COO Feedback portal.

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Last updated: 1 July 2021 ACM