RFO

Where we are

Nestled in the hills of
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
near Kenwood, CA

Longitude: West 122° 30' 28"
Latitude: North 38° 26' 18"
Elevation: 1275'

Physical Address:
2605 Adobe Canyon Road
Kenwood, CA 95452-9065
(707) 833-6979

Mailing Address:
Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (VMOA)
P.O. Box 898
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

 

What to Wear

Warm layers, gloves and hats. Wool socks and sturdy shoes are helpful. Nights can be very cold. Bring a flashlight. We will provide red cellophane covers to protect your night vision.

 

Cost

Observatory Admission:
PlanetWalk and Daytime Solar viewing are free.
Nighttime viewing is $3.00 per adult (18 and older),
free for those under 18.

Parking fee:
$8.00

Above fees are included in class and lab registration fees.

 

Useful Links

What's Up in the Night Sky

2014 Calendar of Events

Public Astronomy

Classes

Current Sky Conditions
at the Observatory:
see the Clear Sky Chart
or call 707/833-6979

 

FAQs

Directions to Northern California's most active
Public Observatory

Map

Click on map to go to MapQuest

Directions
From Highway 12 east of Santa Rosa, turn on Adobe Canyon Road toward Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Follow the road up the canyon. From the Park's entrance kiosk, proceed straight up the road, following the signs to the observatory. Please drive slowly—hikers and animals abound!

Just past the horse corrals, you will come to a green gate. Do not drive past the gate, even if it’s open. Park in the gravel area between the corrals and the green gate, then walk past the gate up the road a short distance to the observatory.

What to expect
A typical Public Observing Night is staffed by volunteers who run the observatory's three main telescopes, operate smaller scopes in front of the observatory, provide education talks on astronomical topics in the classroom, help to park cars, and assist visitors move about the observatory in the dark. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions about astronomy, cosmology, telescopes, and the observatory itself. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.

The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Night Viewing Times
Our start times are listed on the Star Parties page. We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive before 9 PM in winter, 10 PM in summer, to insure that we remain open for you.

About Night Vision
Why do we use red light around the Observatory? It takes about 20-30 minutes for our eyes to adapt to the dark, and we want to see all we can through the telescopes! Red light interferes the least, but any light has an effect. We provide red cellophane covers for your flashlights, but please keep them pointed away from people, preferably at the ground.

Access for Visitors with Disabilities
The Observatory building is accessible with ramps. Restrooms are accessible. The classroom presentation and observing with the
14-inch digital telescope are accessible. Other telescopes must be used while standing. When necessary, we can help you park your vehicle in a designated space near the building.

Please inform the parking attendants if you require this service. Accessibility stickers are hard to see in the dark!

Telephone
Our phone number is not a direct line to an individual. It has current recorded Observatory information and an option to leave messages for reservations, questions, etc. Note that callbacks may take a few days to occur.

Browse our Store
The Observatory has a retail counter inside the building's main entrance that offers tools for observing such as planispheres, red flashlights, foot and hand warmers, binoculars, guides and more.

PlanetWalk
PlanetWalk is a scale model of the solar system designed to fit within the boundaries of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. It's a 4-1/2 mile round trip hike to Pluto and back, and gives you a physical appreciation of the distances between planets. Details

Sugarloaf Ridge Park
For more information about hiking trails and Park amenities, visit the Sugarloaf Park website.