The Department of Astronomy operates an on-campus Teaching Observatory for educational and public programs. These events are all free to the public. The observatory is open Friday evenings, from 8:30pm to 10:00pm, whenever UF classes are in session.
As our visitor, you get the chance to:
- Observe the Moon, planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae and other astronomical objects through our 8-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch Cassegrain telescopes, and our historic 8-inch Alvan Clark refractor telescope.
- View images and computer animations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and other spacecraft as well as with major ground-based telescopes; check our slide presentations!
- Participate in Children’s Demonstrations which reinforce an expert understanding of the astronomical objects you see in addition to other astronomical and physical phenomena.
- Watch video tapes on space exploration and the latest planetary missions.
- Get updated with the latest astronomical news and ask your own questions!
Please note that not all activities are available during every open house! If you need to know whether a particular activity will be available on a particular night, please contact us. Also check our Public Night Program Schedule.
The public nights take place at the UF Astronomy Teaching Observatory, located south of the Reitz Union parking lot and west of the Aerospace Engineering building, off the Museum Road (see our Teaching Observatory Page for maps).
If you are coming from Archer Road or University Avenue, turn onto Gale Lemerand Drive, then turn east on Museum Road. The next right (after a few hundred feet) will be into an open parking lot. Park there. On the west side of the lot is a small drive that leads south. The observatory is located approximately 500 feet up on the right hand side of this road.
If you are coming from 13th Street (US 441), turn west at the traffic light onto Museum Road. Half a mile later, and after you have passed two traffic lights, take the next left into an open parking lot. Park there. On the west side of the lot is a small drive that leads south. The observatory is located approximately 500 feet up on the right hand side of this road.
Telescopes can’t see through clouds! Public night only occurs if weather permits. Please check the forecast.
Since the event is sensitive to weather conditions, please call (352) 392-1016 after 8:00pm for a recorded message. For a detailed prediction of when it will be cloudy or clear for up to the next two days at the Campus Teaching Observatory, see the Campus Teaching Observatory Clear Sky Clock!
Public Night Contact Information
For more information you can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to contact us over the phone, please call the Department of Astronomy main office at (352) 294-1870 during regular UF business hours.