NASA Keck Remote Observing

NASA Keck observers have access to two remote observing facilities (ROFs) at Caltech and at Yale. Use of the Caltech or Yale ROFs is not required and NASA Keck users may observe remotely.

Please note that other ROFs are also available and NASA users with access to these may use them, however arrangements must be made with those ROFs directly and not through NExScI.

NASA Keck observers who wish to use the Caltech or Yale ROF are required to follow the procedure described in the WMKO Policy on Mainland Observing and summarized below.

This process should be started at least 5 weeks prior to the scheduled observing run.

    1. Log into the WMKO observer web portal

    2. From your observer login page, you can request mainland observing on the access form in one of two ways:

    • For programs on which you are the PI, your observer home page displays upcoming observing runs. Click the appropriate link to submit a mainland observing request page for that particular run.
    • If you are not the PI, or the run is not listed, use the link "Click here to submit a mainland observing request"

    Complete the form with the requested information and submit. You will receive an email confirmation following submission.

    3. What happens next?

    Your request is reviewed by the WMKO remote observing coordinator. If approved, it is then sent to (1) the support astronomer assigned to the run; (2) the mainland site manager at the observer's requested ROF; and (3) the NASA representative for approval (or denial) by each.

    Once all approvals have been granted, email is sent to the (1) requestor, (2) program PI, (3) support astronomer, (4) mainland site manager, (5) and the NASA representative.

    If you are using the ROF at Caltech, fill out the Caltech ROF Facilities Use Agreement (FUA). Scan and submit the signed FUA to Caltech ROF ( or fax it to Marcia Brown at (626) 568-1517. Then follow the directions on the Caltech ROF page to gain access. Please also email your travel plans to the NExScI Keck Operations Scientist (

    If you are using the ROF at Yale, read the Quick guide to the Yale ROF and contact the ROF coordinator to arrange for training (for first time users) and access to the building.

    4. Read the instructions and information on mainland observing:

    Caltech ROF Logistical Information

    The ROF at Caltech is located in the Cahill building (1216 East California Blvd.) shown on this campus map.

    Caltech parking regulations may be found here. Between the hours of 7 am and 5 pm on weekdays, you must have a Caltech parking permit in order to park in one of the Caltech parking areas or parking structures. Street parking is regulated by the city of Pasadena and overnight parking on the street is not allowed without a permit. Overnight parking is allowed in Parking Structure 3 along California Blvd., just south of the Cahill building and we suggest you park here, using the commuter stalls only.

    Visitor permits may be purchased at the rate of $2 for the first hour, $1 per subsequent hour up to $6 per day, or $18 per week. A $6 daily permit is valid through the end of the business day on which the permit is purchased. Visitor parking permits may be purchased at automated pay stations (see map). Alternatively, one-time use, scratch off daily parking passes can be purchased for $3 ahead of time from the Caltech parking office during normal business hours.

    (last updated January 23rd, 2017 09:42:42)