Astronomy Camps for Adults
Beginning Camp
Beginning Camp - Have you ever wondered how stars formed, what Jupiter looks like through a telescope, or how the Earth was formed? Would you like to operate a research telescope and interact with professional astronomers in an informal setting? If so, you will enjoy this "camp" opportunity. Designed for both novices and amateurs, the Astronomy Camp provides a unique educational experience for people from around the world in all walks of life.

Astronomers from The University of Arizona's Steward Observatory will offer lectures on topics from the Solar System to Cosmology. The unique aspect of the camp is the opportunity to observe, photograph, and electronically image various celestial objects through the 61-inch Kuiper telescope on Mt. Bigelow. You will be encouraged to operate the telescopes and equipment to observe objects chosen by yourself and by a group of ~20 other adults. Astronomers are present during all observing sessions and available for informal discussions. Here is a sample schedule from the 2007 Adult Camp.

The setting is atop the colorful and diverse environment of the Santa Catalina Mountains during either the fall or spring seasons. The elevation on Mt. Bigelow is 8,230 feet, the nighttime temperatures are 35-45 °F, and there is a quarter-mile uphill walk on a paved road from the dormitories to the telescopes. Anyone suffering from respiratory problems, arthritis, or any condition that limits physical mobility should probably not participate.

Read personal accounts for this experience written by Campers who attended in May 1999 and October 2006.

Tuition is $700 per person and includes meals, lodging, and transportation in Tucson. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee clear nights for observing. There will be no refunds due to weather conditions. Our camps are scheduled, based on historical weather patterns, to take advantage of Arizona's usually clear skies. If cloudy weather prevents observing, we do have a number of substitute activities planned including construction projects (telescopes, spectroscopes), demonstrations, computer simulations, additional lectures, etc.

The next Advanced Adult Camp will be held jointly with the next Beginning Adult Camp: April 21-23, 2017. You can register for it here!

Advanced Camp
Advanced Camp - Geared towards alumni of Beginning Adult Camps or advanced amateurs, Advanced Adult Camps are scheduled periodically with emphasis on using the high quality 60-inch and 61-inch telescopes along with research-grade optical and infrared instrumentation. Campers will have the opportunity to engage in scientific research using these tools with the real possibility of having results published in professional astronomical journals. Possible projects include deep optical imaging of faint galaxies, optical imaging of Kuiper Belt objects, blazar monitoring, follow-up observations of brown dwarf candidates, etc. There will also be much emphasis on learning to use the image processing and data analysis tools used by professional astronomers. Here is a sample schedule from the 2007 Adult Camp. An image of the galaxy cluster NGC 3718 was obtained at the camp in May 2006 is featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Priced at $700 per person, these camps are scheduled, based on historical weather patterns, to take advantage of Arizona's usually clear skies. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee clear skies and there will be no refunds due to weather conditions. If weather conditions prevent observing, we do have a number of substitute activities such as additional lectures, additional image processing seminars, computer simulations, demonstrations, etc.

The Advanced Adult Camp is scheduled depending on demand. Please let us know if you are interested in this opportunity.

The next Advanced Adult Camp will be held jointly with the next Beginning Adult Camp: April 21-23, 2017. You can register for it here!