People stargazing at night

Public Events

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is only open to the public during our special events.


The Universe is calling.....

          Answer it at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Milky Way Nights 2023 Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO)

See astronomers in their natural habitat, under dark moonless skies. Late night public observing is a unique opportunity to see deep sky objects such as planetary nebula and globular clusters. A waning quarter moon will create perfect dark skies conditions for observing. Check our website all sky camera for up to the minute sky conditions.

In the sky - Close to the new moon, the dark sky conditions are perfect for viewing the summer sky. Soaring above is the eagle constellation which brightest star is the young herdsman Altair who falls in love with Vega as she weaves the fabric of the universe. 

Dates and times:

Thursday July 13 (11 p.m. to 3 a.m.)

Friday, July 14 (11 p.m. to 3 a.m.)

Saturday, July 15 (11 p.m. to 3 a.m.)

Milky Way Nights is an observing event and features access to an array of telescopes operated by University of Calgary astronomers and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Calgary Centre.  You will have the opportunity to look through the telescopes and astronomers will be on hand to answer questions.

What:   Public Observing at the RAO: Presentation and viewing through RAO telescopes

Who:     University of Calgary, Physics and Astronomy

Where: Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, east side of Highway 22, 2.4 km south of Hwy 22 and Hwy 22x interchange

When:   Thursday, Friday, Saturday July 13, 14, 15, 2023 – 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Cost:      Tickets at $10 per person. 

Thursday July 13 Tickets available on eventbrite June 13, noon July 13 eventbrite

Friday, July 14 Tickets available on eventbrite June 14, noon July 14 eventbrite

Saturday, July 15 Tickets available on eventbrite June 15, noon July 15 eventbrite

Ticket information

Only ticket holders will be permitted into the site. This is a ticketed event and only those with a pre-registration ticket will be admitted.

Seven years and younger do not require a ticket, 

Tickets are non transferrable, tickets are only good on the date printed on the ticket

Please do not come to the observatory without a ticket, we do not have tickets available at the door. Sold out means we are at maximum capacity.

All proceeds go to the RAO’s educational programming. 

You can get a refund on tickets up to 24 hours before the event. Refunds are obtained through eventbrite.

No dogs allowed except for service dogs.

No alcohol is allowed on site.

Hercules Cluster
North American Nebula
Whirlpool Galaxy

How to visit the RAO Event Facts