About education

Outreach Activities

WMKO Headquarters visits:
We welcome school groups to visit the observatory headquarters in Waimea. There, your outreach leader will treat your group to a tour of our facility and lead either one of the numerous interactive activities listed below or a show in our portable StarLab planetarium.

Classroom visits:
If your group can’t easily travel to Waimea for a headquarters field trip, one of our outreach leaders can arrange a visit to your school for anything from an hourlong visit to a single class to multiple visits for several age groups. The visit can include either a classroom presentation about an aspect of astronomy or a hands-on science activity. We’ll also bring along a pair of telescopes for safely viewing the Sun during the day (clouds permitting).

Star parties:
WMKO outreach leaders can bring a couple of telescopes to your school for an evening of observing the heavens. In order to give people a reasonable chance to spend time at the telescope, this is suitable for groups of 15 or fewer.

Summit visits:
Selected high-school groups can join an outreach leader on a field trip to see our twin 10-meter telescopes in person at the Mauna Kea summit. Due to the substantial effort involved in supporting a visit to the summit, we typically reserve these special opportunities for astronomy, planetary science and physics classes which have already participated in a classroom visit or a field trip to our Waimea headquarters.

The heath hazards of high altitude, as well as other safety, operational and liability concerns, require that we only allow summit tours of students 16 years of age and older. We cannot accomodate tour groups of any kind that exceed a total of 15 individuals. Additionally, all tours must provide their own 4WD transportation to the summit. All tour requests must be made at least one month in advance in order to guarantee that adequate staff are available to handle any health-related emergencies that might arise.

If you have any questions or concerns about student summit tours, please contact the Keck Communications and Public Programs Officer by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or telephone: (808) 881-3827.