About Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
Located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is a facility dedicated to expanding our knowledge of the Universe and educating the public about the wonders of Astronomy.The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory houses a collection of telescopes, related technology, photographs and research archives.
The 1.8 meter diameter of the A.R. Cross Telescope’s primary mirror makes it one of the three largest telescopes in Canada.The 0.5 meter diameter Baker-Nunn Telescope is only one of a handful of telescopes in the world dedicated to surveying the sky on a nightly basis and searching for asteroids that might one day hit the Earth. It is also the ONLY telescope in the world capable of performing this important survey work near the North Celestial Pole.
What to do at Rothney Astrophysical Observatory?
Things to do at RAO
Explore the 2200 square foot Interpretive Centre with educational displays about astronomy.
Participate in Open house and learn about the universe through talks, fun activities, and a chance to look through the telescopes.
2018 Open House
September 15 Open House: The Universe is multiple sensory experience and we comprehend it in waves. Dr. Jeroen Stil will present the latest in research on gravitational wave detection.
September 21 Beakerhead at the RAO 7:30p.m. to 10:30p.m.: In this hands on exploratory evening you will be dazzled with delightful sights with the help of some high-powered telescopes and University of Calgary astronomers along with members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. A near full moon will light the way to view Mars and Saturn!
October 13 – Human Colonies in Space Science Fiction Open House: Fact is always stranger than fiction, especially when explaining the universe through physics. Join us to explore possible new worlds we can create beyond the earth. Jessie Andjelic and Philip Vandermey will present how they tackle some of the challenges of living in space.
November 17 – Dark Night Starlight Open House: Celebrate dark skies with us and our partners in Conserving the Wilderness of the Dark Sky.
See the Milky way throughout the three nights in August.
How to get to Rothney Astrophysical Observatory?
Location & Directions to RAO
It takes about forty-five minutes to drive from downtown Calgary to the observatory, which is is located just outside of Calgary, off Highway 22X in the Priddis area. There is no public transportation. Note the signs on the road,lest you miss it.
Address: 200, 198070 Hwy 22, Calgary
GPS Coordinates:50.868039 , -114.291142
How long will it take to see Rothney Astrophysical Observatory?
Time Required to Visit RAO – 1 hour to 3 hours.
How much to visit RAO?
Admission is free, but for night visits there is a suggested donation $5 per per person.
Open house – Admission $20.00 per car or $10.00 per person.
Milky Way Nights – By Donation
When to visit Rothney Astrophysical Observatory?
Interpretive Centre Hours
Day time Drop in Time : Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Noon – 4pm
Call first if you would like a tour of the observatory.
Please check website before you visit in case of closure due to inclement weather.
February 28, March 25 ,April 25, May 27 , September 15 , October 21 , November 25 | Gates open at 8:00pm and the event runs until 11:00pm.
Milky Way Nights-2017
July 20 – 22 & August 17 – 19 | 10pm to 2am
What about Amenities, Access & Parking RAO?
Gift shop, Guided tours, Libraries, Restrooms.
The Interpretive Centre is wheelchair accessible, but please call ahead if you also wish to visit the observatory.
Parking available onsite
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, Priddis
Date: August 9, 2018 To August 11, 2018
Timing: 12:00 AM To 11:59 PM
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, 200 198070 Hwy 22, Priddis
Date: March 9, 2019 To March 9, 2019
Timing: 12:00 AM To 11:59 PM