Gemini Travel

The AAO and AAL have secured funds from the Federal government's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to ensure that Australian recipients of Gemini classical nights awarded observing time by ATAC are able to take up that opportunity.

As soon as you are informed of your observing time allocation, please consult the relevant Visiting Observers Guide:

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator on each proposal to coordinate their travel and accommodation arrangements directly with the facility they will be visiting. ITSO cannot make any such arrangements on the observer's behalf.

The following policies apply to the reimbursement of observer travel expenses:

  1. The observer must be affiliated with an Australian university or research organisation.
  2. The AAO will pay the costs for one qualified observer per scheduled program. If a student is PI on the scheduled proposal, and has had no prior observing experience, then the AAO will pay the costs for both the student and their supervisor (or a suitably qualified designate) as the Gemini Observatory requires that observers will be experienced and self-sufficient. Observers who wish to bring a student along with them for the experience are welcome to do so, but in that case the AAO will not pay for any costs incurred by the student.
  3. The AAO will reimburse the cost of lowest available economy-class airfares from the observer's home city in Australia to La Serena or Hilo; hotel expenses in Sydney, Santiago, La Serena, Honolulu, or Hilo; meals and incidentals; transport to/from airports in Australia, Chile, and Hawaii; room, board, and transport costs at Cerro Pachon or Hilo; and reasonable expenses associated with this travel (e.g. Chilean visa reciprocity fee, US visa waiver fee, etc.).
  4. To be eligible for reimbursement, the observer (and their supervisor if they are a student) must provide fare quotes for approval by the International Telescopes Support Office (itso -@- aao.gov.au) prior to purchasing their tickets. The AAO reserves the right not to reimburse the full cost of items it considers unreasonable, or not associated with observing travel.
  5. The AAO will reimburse the observer's institution on receipt of an invoice addressed to the International Telescopes Support Office, together with copies of receipts for all costs being claimed. The GST component of costs incurred within Australia may be claimed (no GST is payable on costs incurred in Chile, the USA, or on international airfares); however an institution may not claim an additional 10% GST component on top of the total GST-inclusive costs. Reimbursement of will also be contingent upon confirmation that the observer feedback form has been completed.

Indicative costs are:

  • Room and Board at Cerro Pachon (full): CLP 50,000 (~AU$100) per day.
  • Taxi from/to La Serena airport: CLP 5,000 (~AU$10) one way.
  • La Serena - Cerro Pachon Carry-all CLP 25,000 (~AU$50) one way.
  • CTIO Motel in La Serena (no board): CLP 42,000 (~AU$85) per day.
  • Hotels in Hilo: ~$US160 per night.
  • For those who want to stay overnight in Santiago, Las Campanas Observatory recommends the El Vergel hotel in the Providencia district (US$82 for a single and US$98 for a double, which includes continental breakfast). Transportation from and to the airport costs ~US$60. There are Holiday Inn and Hilton hotels right at the airport that charge ~US$200 per night.
  • Honolulu airport hotels: ~US$170 per night.

We strongly recommend observers purchase the local part of the trip in conjunction with the international part. If some delay occurs LAN/Qantas/Hawaiian should take care of rearranging flights, overnight hotel in Santiago/Honolulu, etc. You will be expected to pay costs before departure from La Serena/Hilo. Payment can be made in cash or by credit card.