Astronomy & the Great Basin Observatory

Astronomy & the Great Basin Observatory

Visitors attend a ranger-led astronomy program. John Vermette.

One of Great Basin National Park's most precious resources are its pristine night skies. We are proud to support Great Basin National Park’s dark sky initiatives. 

Great Basin Observatory

We funded, constructed, and operate the Great Basin Observatory, the only research-grade observatory in a US national park. The remotely-operated telescope allows researchers from around the United States to utilize the Great Basin’s pristine night skies. For more information, visit the Great Basin Observatory website. 

Astronomy Education

Astronomy education provides an avenue for students to learn critical math and science concepts while considering their place in the universe. Our cutting-edge Double Star Research Program allows middle school and high school students to conduct astronomical research and write a peer-reviewed, published scientific paper under the guidance of college professors. Reach for the Stars is our astronomy education program, which uses lesson plans, Star Boxes of materials, and the support of university professors in order to teach K-12 students throughout the Great Basin about dark sky preservation. 

Support for Park Astronomy Programs

Each year, the Foundation provides financial support for two Great Basin National Park Scientists in Parks interns. These highly-qualified young astronomers support the Park’s very popular astronomy programs, which reach over 10,000 visitors each year.  We provided the telescopes and solarscopes for astronomy Park programs, equipping their astronomy team with all of the tools needed to share the wonders of the cosmos with visitors. We also support Park astronomy initiatives, including its designation as an International Dark Sky Park and its popular Northern Nevada Star Train programs. 


We collaborate with many talented groups in order to ensure the Great Basin's dark skies remain protected and available for research and education. This includes university, regional, and local partners, and the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative.