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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

Amazing video shot at Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Click on link - Neil Zeller Photography

Dark Night Star Light

Amazing Sky - Alan Dyer

Wow what a year and it is not over yet. The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory has been working hard to spread the message of light pollution abatement. What is light pollution? According to the RASC “Light pollution is light that shines where it is not needed or wanted. It has several forms: glare, light trespass, over-lighting, and uplight. Light pollution causes energy waste and sky glow. Light pollution is easily recognized as: light that shines onto your property or into your home; glary light from poorly aimed fixtures or that is too bright for its surroundings; and light that shines up into the sky.” Light pollution is a byproduct of the development of the last two centuries. Essentially it is too much of a good thing. The good news, this type of pollution is the easiest to fix and the benefits of responsible lighting result in cost savings, improved physiology in humans and animals. Everybody wins so think about your outdoor lighting. Consider motion sensor lighting or red lights. Please support legislation which calls for smart lighting design in your neighbourhood, nearby industrial areas or roadways. You have a voice and if light trespass is a problem in your community, let your government know. At the observatory, we have been fortunate to work with the Foothills Municipality and a dark sky bylaw. Phil Langill, director of the observatory and Roland Dechesne of the RASC have made presentations to the City of Calgary in support of the Enviro Smart Street light program. Our strongest ally has been the RASC Calgary Chapter, who we wish to thank for their help with this project. The RASC has been working on light pollution abatement for over a decade and we hope we have been able help with their work. We would especially like to thank Roland Dechesne for his tireless support of our project.

Orion Nebula CMT RAO

Mythology of the Night Sky

February 14, 2015

8pm to 11pm

Entrance fee: $20 per car or $10 per person*

In the sky – The eternal chase continues with Taurus fleeing from Orion the hunter overhead and Jupiter will be visible in the east.

The open house event will also feature access to an array of telescopes operated by University of Calgary astronomers and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Calgary Chapter.  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

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

If the sky is cloudy then we will not be able to operate the telescopes.  If very poor weather conditions persist then the observing event is canceled. Watch this website for sky conditions and updates.

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 >>