The Universe is Here for You!

Guests attending a Saturday Star Party at RFO
Guests attending a Saturday Star Party. Photo: Len Nelson

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) offers public star parties and solar observing for the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon.

  1. Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. The Observatory’s three main telescopes are open for your viewing and docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.
  2. Daytime Solar: Occasionally solar telescopes are set up earlier in the day so you can safely look at and listen to our favorite star, the Sun. If solar observing is being offered, it will be listed on our calendar.

Upcoming Public Star Parties in 2024

Purchase tickets here for any of the classes listed below!

  • June 29, 2024 from 9 PM-12 AM
  • July 27, 2024 from 9 PM-12 AM
  • August 24, 2024 from 9 PM-12 AM
  • September 28, 2024 from 8-11 PM
  • October 12, 2024 from 7-10 PM
  • November 2, 2024 from 7-10 PM
  • November 29, 2024 from 7-10 PM

Check out our other events on our calendar!


FAQs:

  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it is dark enough for observing. We suggest families with children arrive close to the start time, and others arrive an hour or so later to minimize wait times at the telescopes. It is recommended to arrive no later than two hours after the start time. 
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer, observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a small red light flashlight or purchase one when booking your tickets. If you purchase a flashlight ahead of time it will be available for you when you check in.
  5. White Light: No white lights should be used after dark; the observatory is a red-light-only area to protect everyone’s night vision. We can supply red cellophane to cover flashlights. Please note:
    Bring a SMALL flashlight (large camp lanterns, light sticks, etc., cannot be adequately covered by red cellophane).
    Cell phones or cell-phone flashlights are acceptable but must be covered in red cellophane. (No cell service at the observatory).
    Some head lamps are difficult to cover with red cellophane. Once covered, head lamps should be worn around the neck or used pointing down as they are usually very bright at eye level.
    Red flashlights are available for $5 at the observatory.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions click on this link or the image below: Clear Sky Chart

A picture of RFO in the day time.
Photo: Mark Hillestad

The Robert Ferguson Observatory: Both peaked roofs roll back to reveal the telescopes inside. The dome opens and revolves with its telescope. The tall poles attached to the sides of the building are part of RFO’s radio astronomy set-up that allows us to listen to the Sun. 

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