Macalester observatory

Public Observing Nights–Fall 2022

We are happy to announce that, for the first time since Fall 2019 we are once again able to offer Public Nights at the Macalester Observatory for the Macalester community! We welcome all Macalester students, faculty and staff to attend these events.

As part of Macalester’s continued response to COVID-19, all campus buildings remain secure, and can only be accessed by MacPass card access. Unfortunately, this means that our Public Observing Nights are not available to the general public at this time. We are currently working with the Department of Public Safety to develop a plan to offer limited access to Olin-Rice Hall so that persons from outside of the Macalester community will also be able to participate. When we are able to open our Public Nights to the general public, we will announce it here, so please watch this web page for any updates or announcements.

Public Observing Nights Schedule

Dates: Public Nights will be held weekly on Monday evenings, from 19 September through 5 December.

Times: 7:00-10:00 p.m.

Any cancellations, amendments, or changes to this schedule will be announced in the Mac Daily and on this web page.

About our Public Nights

On observing nights our 16-inch telescope will be open for viewing and education. Public Nights is an ongoing student-run event which allows the greater Macalester College community to take advantage of the college’s science-grade observatory.

Weather permitting, potential targets include the Moon, planets, globular clusters, star clusters, binary star systems, galaxies, and planetary nebulae. In the case of cloudy skies, poor visibility, or precipitation, we will not be able to open the dome for observing; however, if you would still like to see the facilities and chat about the universe, our astronomy students will be present to show the dome and answer questions. Hope to see you there!

Directions to Observatory

  1. To access the telescope, enter Olin Rice Hall using MacPass access.
  2. Take the stairs or service elevator on the SOUTHWEST side of the building up to the fourth floor.
  3. Enter the first room on the left — you will see a spiral staircase.
  4. Ascend the spiral staircase to the roof. The dome is only accessible by this staircase.

Contact Info

Brian Adams
Laboratory Supervisor and Observatory Manager