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Welcome To Rothney Astrophysics Observatory

Submitted by wcm on Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:56am

Answer it at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Teachers please click here to learn more about our school programs

Howdy Neighbour BBQ click here for details

first qsos_esa

Milky Way Nights

August 13, 14, 15, 2015

10pm to 2am

Entrance fee: donation to RAO educational programming*

SKY CONDITIONS: We will be open from 10pm to 2am

Watch this website for weather forecasts. Please click on all sky camera for up to the minute sky conditions over the observatory. If the sky is cloudy then we will not be able to operate the telescopes.

Milky Ways Nights are an opportunity for the public to come and observe the dark night sky along with our researchers. Three nights in August close to the new moon, the dark sky conditions are perfect for viewing planetary nebula, globular clusters and distant galaxies. The planet visible in August is Saturn which is always amazing to view through a telescope. During the August Milky Way Nights will be the most active time to view the Perseids Meteor shower. Each evening we will offer a sky tour outside on our viewing terrace and point out some of the highlights of the summer sky. Several astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and talk about what you will be observing through the telescope.

Saturn is the visible planet and the incredible summer sky.

Milky Way Nights are special evenings at the observatory; there is no formal talk or presentation, because the event is dedicated to observing with the telescopes. There will be an array of telescopes operated by University of Calgary astronomers and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Calgary Centre. Attendees will have the opportunity to look through the telescopes and Astronomers will be on hand to answer questions.

*all proceeds go towards our educational programming.

No need to pre-register, drop in between 10pm to 2am.

Sky viewing is out of doors, so please dress for the weather. You are welcome to bring a flashlight (red or dim is preferred).

Maintaining the wilderness of the night time sky for all to enjoy!

Learn about 'Smart Light' and become a dark sky Citizen Scientist with the RAO's new Dark Night, Star Light project.

Guess who has recently been named the Southern Alberta Chapter of the International Dark Skies Association  ??

   International Dark Sky Association

The Rothney Observatory was featured on Telus TV click here for link

Donations to the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory are hugely appreciated.  We endeavour to make astronomy accessible to the public, and inspire scientific thinking and literacy.  If you would like support us in this endeavour, you can help by making a donation.  Click on this link, and choose "Friends of the RAO" from the Designation drop-down box.

The University of Calgary issues tax receipts for donations of any amount.  Thank YOU!

Current Sky over the RAO:  RAO All Sky Camera




  Read more about this cool image, and see the latest data from our new Sky Quality Meter, by visiting the Skywatch page.

Successful Launch!


The University of Calgary Swarm mission, which consists of a constellation of three satellites orbiting in two different near-polar orbits at 450 and 530 km altitude, is intent on providing the best-ever survey of the Earth's geomagnetic and its temporal evolution. Data gathered will allow for new insights into the Earth and its surroundings by improving understanding of our planet's interior, near-Earth space environment and the sun’s influence on the planet. Swarm will be the first mission to make global, multi-point measurements of magnetic and electric fields simultaneously.

RAO is Operations Headquarters for amazing Canadian satellite research mission: 

artists conception of the CASSIOPE satelliteOn September 29th, 2013 the Canadian Space Agency launched the CAScade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer also known as CASSIOPE.  You may have noticed a new cube-shaped structure and dome to the south of the big ARCT dome.  This is a high-tech satellite tracking installation.  The data that the satellite collects while soaring over and inside the Earth's aurora and space weather is beamed down to the RAO for study by U of C scientists.  An animation of the satellite orbiting the Earth is here.  Stay tuned for an announcement about the official launching celebration of the RAO's e-Pop ground station.


RAO Sky Scanner Extrordinare, Rob Cardinal, discovers comets in 2008 and 2010:

Discovery images of C/2010 B1 CardinalTo see Rob's actual discovery images click here.  The stars, being in the distant background, are stationary while the comet dashes across the field of view.  Congratuations Rob Cardinal!

In Oct. of 2008 and Jan. 2010, using the specialized Baker-Nunn Telescope and its very sensitive CCD camera detector, astronomer Rob Cardinal discovered never before seen comets, now named "C/2008 T2 Cardinal" and "C/2010 B1 Cardinal".  read more >>

In 2008 the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory won prestigeous ASTech Award for Excellence in Science and Technology Public Awarenes:            read more >>