Astronomy Camps for Adults
Beginning Camp
Beginning Adult Camp - Have you ever wondered how stars form, 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 Adult Astronomy Camp provides a unique educational experience for people from around the world in all walks of life.

Professional astronomers will offer talks, and interactive activities, on topics from the Solar System to Cosmology. An especially unique aspect of the Camp is the opportunity to observe (naked-eye & electronically) various celestial objects through the 61-inch Kuiper telescope on Mt. Bigelow. Smaller telescopes (binoculars, 8, 24, and 32-inch) are also available. You will be encouraged to operate the telescopes and equipment to observe objects chosen by yourself and the 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. After an initial gathering in Tucson, participants will travel together to Mt. Lemmon Observatory about 1.5 hours drive north of Tucson. Once on the summit (9200 feet), they will immediately become real astronomers with access to many different telescopes. 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.

During daytime hours, Astronomy Campers may interact with astronomers on modern research topics, participate in interactive activities about astrophysical topics, observe the Sun in different colors of light, hike a scale model of our Solar System in the unique environment of Mt. Lemmon. Typically, we also visit the University's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

Campers sleep in the astronomers' dormitories along with the staff and the Director. Separate facilities are provided for men and women. These facilities are authentic but not luxurious.

Read a personal account for this experience written by an Adult Camper who attended in October 2006.

Tuition is $800 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 orientation to the nightsky in a small planetarium, construction projects (telescopes, spectroscopes), demonstrations, computer simulations, additional lectures, etc.

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 $1000 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.