University of Calgary

Astronomy Year

Jan. 5, 2009

Getting a head start in celebrating 2009, the International Year of Astronomy

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Have you ever wondered about something in the night sky? Ever thought of an intriguing mystery about the universe?

With 2009 being the official Year of Astronomy, there’s never been a better time to take those questions and your curiosity to the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

Phil Langill, director of the RAO, will kick off the observatory’s open house this weekend—during the biggest and closest full moon of 2009—as part of a year-long celebration of all things astronomical by fielding any and all questions.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help people around the world rediscover their place in the universe through the day and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.

“This is a chance for people to connect with the universe and have a Galileo moment while looking through one of our telescopes,” says Langill.

The U of C’s Rothney Observatory has a variety of telescopes, including the 1.8 metre ARCT, one of the largest in Canada. There’s also the asteroid hunting and comet chasing Baker Nunn telescope and the Clark-Milone robotic telescope.

The terrace around the observatory features an array of telescopes operated by the University of Calgary astronomers and the Calgary Chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society.

All visitors should dress warmly and bring flashlights. The RAO is on an exposed hill and the wind can be biting. The event will be cancelled in the event of bad weather. Check website ( for updates.

What: Rothney Astrophysical Observatory open house.
Where: RAO, located on Highway 22, 2.4 km south of the Hwy 22X interchange (Map).
When: Saturday, Jan. 10, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: $20 per car.