Photo taken at the RAO.


telescope mountain vista

RAO Optics Lab

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) Light and Optics Laboratory

The RAO Light and Optics Learning Space will provide exciting and engaging opportunities for problem solving, numeracy skill building, and introductory physics investigation for Grades 4 to 12.  Your gift will help the RAO build an Interpretive Centre “Mission Control Classroom” that gives students an immersive experience to explore concepts in light, optics, and astrophysics, placing them in the center of their own universe. University of Calgary Giving Day April 3 to 18, 2024 is your opportunity to help us develop this incredible optics lab for young learners.

Support the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory in the Community

As one of the principal research facilities within the University of Calgary's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

As one of Canada's best-equipped astronomical teaching facilities, providing university students with the opportunity to use research-grade telescopes, an integral part of the undergraduate astronomy curriculum.

As an astronomy resource for school children, teachers and community groups. The RAO strives to serve the community as a resource to science educators and as a catalyst for science education in Alberta.

As a venue for the public to connect with the universe through our public events and Open Houses.

Outdoors at the RAO
Photo taken at the Apollo event.

Donating to the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) benefits the community through its dual roles as a University of Calgary research facility and as a public educational institution. The RAO’s primary purpose and service to the community is to provide a resource for science educators and to act as a support to science education in Alberta. Therefore, the RAO objectives are to create a quality-learning environment built on integrated teaching, research and creative activities. Another objective is to return the benefits of our learning and research to our communities ensuring that we are responsive to their needs. We accomplish these objectives through interpretative activities and the development of public programming that articulates and involves University of Calgary research and scientific technology. Our exhibits and programs create a stimulating experiential learning experience with an exhibit program that responds to the needs and wants of our target audiences. The RAO houses a collection of telescopes, related technology and archival resources. These collections are conserved, researched and interpreted for the public and for future generations of Alberta.

We are a not-for profit organization and your financial support ensures we continue to offer science programming to school and youth groups.

The University of Calgary Charitable number is 108102864RR001.

If you would like to learn more about our astronomical plans for the future, please contact Dr. Phil Langill, 403 931 2366.