Celebrating 75 Years of Discovery

Observing at Palomar

Data Room of the Hale Telescope. (Palomar/Caltech)

Attention Palomar Observers: As of 19 June 2023 the observatory has rolled-back the last of its pandemic-era operations guidelines.

Updated Mon 19 Jun 2023 5:40 am PDT

These pages provide context and information to support observers to propose, plan, conduct, and analyze their Palomar observations.


  1. Applying for telescope time
  2. Observer travel
  3. Remote observing
  4. Telescope/instrumentation resources
  5. Telescope schedule/instrument settings
  6. Software resources
  7. Additional questions and feedback

Applying for Telescope Time

Observing at Palomar begins with the semi-annual calls for telescope time proposals issued by the various Palomar constituencies: Caltech/Caltech Optical Observatories (COO), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/JPL Palomar Advisory Committee (JPAC), Yale Astronomy, and National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC).

The COO Proposal Solicitation link has Caltech-specific information on the Palomar proposal process, but some of this information may be of interest to astronomers from other constituencies as well. [more…]

Observer Travel

Observers coming to Palomar may want to review these Palomar Observer Travel resources. In particular lodging at the Palomar Monastery must be booked in advance. Visitor keys are available at Monastery check-in. [more…]

Remote Observing

P200 supports remote observing capabilities for most facility instruments (e.g. CHIMERA, CWI, DBSP, TSpec, PHARO, WaSP, and WIRC). Interested/eligible parties can find more information on remote observing options at our P200 Remote Observing page and our COO Remote Observing page.

Telescope/­Instrumentation Resources

P200 Telescope Schedule/Instrument Settings

The Lead Observer (LO) identified for each P200 night is the single contact point for all scheduling and logistical matters associated with the observing run. Please see the on-line P200 Observing Schedule if you have questions about the LO-designation for an upcoming run.

LOs are responsible for identifying instrument settings at least two weeks before an observing run. [more…]

Software Resources

Please see Palomar Software Resources for information on observation planning, observing, and data reduction software resources.

Additional Support Questions and Feedback

Please see our checklist and FAQ page for detailed instructions on how to apply for telescope time, change instrument setups, create an account with the Palomar reservations system, and other common observing prep topics. Any other observing/astronomer support questions should be sent to the Palomar support team.

For feedback on any Palomar topic, please go to the COO Feedback page.

Questions? We've answered many common observing and operations questions in our observer FAQ page.
Please share your feedback on this page or any other Palomar topic at the COO Feedback portal.

Observing / v 1.0.7
Last updated: 19 August 2022 AFB/ACM