Observatory Open House and Schedule

The Astronomical Society frequently holds public observing sessions at the University's historic observatory. These sessions are open to anyone and are free of charge. Visitors have the opportunity to gaze through the 115+ year-old, original 12" refracting telescope, as well as several smaller telescopes.

The Observatory will be open to the public at the following times for viewing (weather permitting - we must have mostly clear skies).

The usual open house schedule is for the second Friday of the month, for about two hours. If the sky is cloudy, we'll still be there giving tours of the observatory and talking about its long and field-changing history. We'll try observing again the following Friday, if the weather is good.

Throughout the year the observing time varies with what is in season. During the spring, summer, and fall months observing usually takes place between 9-11PM. During the winter months observing usually takes place between 7-9PM. Make sure to check the email announcement (see below) for details.

Make sure to check out the Clear Sky Chart on our home page to see current C-U sky conditions. The Clear Sky Chart is made by Attilla Danko.

UIAS Guest Email List

Want to be notified of upcoming observatory open houses and other UIAS public events? Join our e-mail list! Simply e-mail us at uias@illinois.edu and request to be added to the guest list. We'll let you know what's new at the Observatory, and what we plan to look at when you come to visit.

What is there to see?

Common objects we can view, depending on season and time of day:

We are not limited to these and we are always open to suggestions!

Make sure to check out the Activities and Events page, where we list objects of interest during each month!

Where is the observatory?

The Observatory building is located on the far southeast corner of the quad, between the Morrow Plots and Smith Memorial Hall. It's a short block southeast of Foellinger Auditorium (which is at the south end of the main quad), or a longer block east of the main library: