National Optical Astronomy Observatory

NOAO Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) offers a limited number of Summer Research Assistant positions to qualified undergraduate students each year at three NOAO divisions: Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), and the National Solar Observatory (NSO).

Undergraduate students are participants in the NOAO Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site Program in astronomy, funded by the National Science Foundation. Participation is restricted to citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Positions at both KPNO and NSO are full-time for 10 to 12 weeks between May and September with an application deadline in January for summer program appointments. The positions at CTIO are for 10 weeks between January and March with an application deadline in September for winter program appointments. Please check the appropriate sites (linked below) for actual application deadline dates.

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

CTIO CTIO is the national center for astronomy for the United States in the southern hemisphere. Observatory headquarters are located in La Serena, Chile, and observing facilities are located on Cerro Tololo, about 60 miles northeast of La Serena, on the western slope of the Andes. Students will work on specific research projects in close collaboration with members of the scientific staff in areas that include stellar structure and evolution, star clusters, supernovae and supernovae remnants, and the structure and evolution of normal galaxies and cosmology. The program emphasizes observational techniques and provides opportunity for direct observational experience using CTIO facilities. Additional information and application materials are available on the Web at

Kitt Peak National Observatory

REU KPNOKPNO, located southwest of Tucson, Arizona, provides major telescope facilities for the nation's astronomers. Students will work on specific research projects in close collaboration with members of the scientific staff. KPNO has ongoing research programs in observational astronomy, spectroscopy, image analysis and instrumentation. In additional to participating in observing runs at Kitt Peak, students take part in weekly scientific lectures on various aspects of astronomical research, and have the opportunity to present their research in a poster session at the annual January AAS meeting.

Students are hired as full-time research assistants. Reimbursement for air travel to and from Tucson is covered in full. If traveling by car, students will be reimbursed up to $500. Students are expected to make their own housing arrangements if living off-campus. Please visit our web site to complete an on-line application:

National Solar Observatory

REU NSOThe NSO, with facilities in the Sacramento Mountains in south-central New Mexico and at Kitt Peak in south-central Arizona, has ongoing research programs in solar physics, solar-terrestrial physics, solar-stellar physics and instrumentation. Students will work closely with observatory staff members on research programs emphasizing data reduction and analysis, computer programming, instrumentation, or theoretical modeling. Additional information and application materials are available on the Web:

More information

Application materials for these division programs may also be obtained from the NOAO Educational Outreach Office, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona, 85726-6732, (520) 318-8230,

Additionally, the National Science Foundation has a complete list of all the astronomy REU programs that are offered throughout the United States.


NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

AURA, inc. NSF