Current sky over the RAO
Click on the image for a larger photo of the current sky over the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.
Because the camera is extremely light sensitive, the sun appears as a white line. The whole image may become overexposed on a bright, sunny day. Planets, constellations and the Milky Way can be seen on clear nights.
Our current sky live feed is a mirrored image. North is on the right, west is on the bottom, south is on the left and the eastern sky can be seen at the top. The dome seen on the left houses the Baker-Nunn Cross telescope. Downtown Calgary is on the northeast horizon (behind the satellite). The 1.8 metre A.R. Cross telescope is located in the top dome. The darkest and most pristine skies can be seen opposite of the city, towards the south and southwest.
Although a light glow can be seen from Calgary at night, RAO is still under dark skies when the moon is below the horizon. UCalgary thanks residents of the MD Foothills for their efforts to keep their lights pointed downward. The university is also working with the city and Alberta to minimize sky glow from the Providence and the Southwest Ring Road developments.
Sky quality meter
Click the image for a larger photo of the sky quality meter (SQM).
After sunset, the SQM measures the darkness of the sky.
When the sky is at its darkest, the sky quality meter will read between 20.5 and 21.0. During these times, our telescopes can reach their full potential. The moon has a major influence on sky brightness. The altitude of the moon is indicated by a yellow circle (if above the horizon).
- Please note that the RAO solar gnomon is being redesigned and is not available at this time.
- Calgary 7 day forecast (Environment Canada)
- RAO weather history (From the CMT station - thank you to Larry McNish for putting this together.)
- Weather at the RAO (Government of Alberta)