Observatory Open House

Observatory Open House Schedule:

The Astronomical Society frequently holds observing sessions at the University's historic observatory. These sessions are open to the public free of charge. Visitors have the opportunity to gaze through the original 12" refracting telescope, as well as several smaller scopes. For more information on the observatory, take the ObservaTour.

The Observatory will be open to the public at the following times for viewing (weather permitting, must have mostly clear skies), and depending on the availability of trained club members to run the open house viewing sessions.

The usual open house schedule is for the first Friday of the month, for about two hours. If it's cloudy, we try again the following Friday if the weather looks good.

Time of day varies with the season and what's in the sky -- typically from 9-11PM in May and August, to 6-8PM in December and January. Check the e-mail announcement (see below) for details.

Click to view the 3-Day clear-sky forecast (from Attila Danko's Clear Sky Chart pages):

Open House Guest E-Mail 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.

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:

View Larger Map
(Ignore the "A" pin in the above map. The green arrow points to the observatory.)

What is there to see?

Here are some common objects we might take a look at, depending on the season and time of day, but we are always open to suggestions.

Star charts:

Here are some charts, covering all the sky visible from Illinois, showing many naked-eye stars and some deep-sky objects (star clusters, galaxies, nebulae) and some sample times and seasons when each is high in the sky:
The Sky from Illinois in four charts (PDF)

For another way of understanding the sky, here are maps oriented to the galactic north and south (the way the whole Milky Way turns, with the sun's orbit taking a quarter billion years) rather than the usual "equatorial" north and south (the way the earth turns every 24 hours):
The sky, charted with galactic orientation (PDF)

For more info:

Contact the Astronomical Society's Observatory Committee:
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