Programs & Projects

CSDC MSO-KPNO MSO-CTIO Gemini Observatory Rubin Observatory CSDC

Through its Programs — CSDC, Gemini Observatory, Mid-Scale Observatories (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory) and Vera C. Rubin Observatory — NSF’s NOIRLab serves as a focal point for community development of innovative scientific programs, exchange of ideas, and creative development. NOIRLab’s infrastructure enables the astronomy community to advance understanding of the Universe by exploring significant areas of astrophysics, including dark energy and dark matter, galaxies and quasars, the Milky Way, exoplanets, and small bodies in our own Solar System.

Community Science & Data Center (CSDC)

Programs within the Community Science and Data Center support and enable a broad range of astronomical community science activities across the US ground-based optical and infrared system.


Gemini Observatory

The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet. From their locations on mountains in Hawai‘i and Chile, Gemini Observatory’s telescopes can collectively access the entire sky. The observatory is an international partnership that includes the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Korea. 


Mid-Scale Observatories - Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

From the first observations in 1965, Cerro Tololo, located in Chile, has served as the principal platform for U.S. astronomical investigation of the southern skies.


Mid-Scale Observatories - Kitt Peak National Observatory

Founded in 1958, Kitt Peak National Observatory is home to one of the largest arrays of optical and radio telescopes in the world.

Vera C. Rubin Observatory

Vera C. Rubin Observatory, currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile, is an 8-meter-class telescope coupled to a 3.2-gigapixel camera – the world’s largest digital camera ever fabricated for optical astronomy.

US Extremely Large Telescope Program

The US Extremely Large Telescope Program proposes national open access to the next generation of giant optical-infrared telescopes: GMT and TMT.


NOIRLab also enables and hosts a variety of scientific projects, listed here.


Updated on April 14, 2023, 6:53 am