Solar and Star Parties


Star Parties: Please arrive before 10 PM to ensure that we stay open for you.

January 9
Solar 11-3
Star Party 6pm

February 6
Solar 11-3
Star Party 7pm

March 5
Solar 11-3
Star Party 7pm

April 9
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

May 14
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

June 4
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

June 25
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

July 30
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

August 11
Perseid Meteor Shower

Star Party 9pm

August 27
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

September 24
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

October 8
Solar 11-3
Star Party 8pm

November 19
Solar 11-3
Star Party 6pm

Novemver 25
Day after Thanksgiving

Solar only: 11-3

The Universe is Here
for You!

Crab Nebula

M1, the Crab Nebula, photographed by docent Steve Smith using RFO's robotic telescope (more images).

The Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO) is open to the public at least once a month, usually on a Saturday near the time of the New Moon (see schedule at left).

Daytime Solar: Solar telescopes are set up so you can safely look at and listen to our favorite star, the Sun.

Star Parties: Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the Observatory's three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions.


  1. Map and Directions
  2. When to arrive: We keep the observatory open as long as there are visitors, but you must arrive before 10 PM in Summer, 9 PM in Winter, to ensure that we remain open for you. Summer Star Parties begin with tours and presentations until it's dark enough for observing.
  3. Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
  4. There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a flashlight.
  5. White light is strongly discouraged (it negatively affects your nighttime vision). Docents will provide you with red cellophane to cover your flashlight.
  6. Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
  7. The Observatory is not open to the public except for scheduled events.

Classroom presentations are always offered on Star Party nights even if the weather is poor. For current conditions call the observatory at 707/833-6979.


RFO in the daytime

The Robert Ferguson Observatory: Both peaked roofs roll back to reveal the telescopes inside. The dome opens and revolves with its telescope. The tall poles attached to the sides of the building are part of RFO's radio astronomy set-up that allows us to listen to the Sun. Photo: Mark Hillestad

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at RFO

Looking through the big telescope

A docent volunteer assists a visiting observer at the RFO's 24" Reflector telescope. Photo by Len Nelson.


Observatory Admission:

Daytime Solar
Observing is Free

Star Party is $3.00 per adult (18 and older),
under 18 FREE.

Parking Fee:



"What a fantastic experience in every way possible. All ages. The best educational and 'out of this world' journey in the Bay Area."

We were at the observatory on Saturday night...we had an AMAZING time. Most people took off after the fog came in, so that gave us a great opportunity to hang around and pick the brains of the docents. Such knowledgeable, friendly people with such fascinating information! Thank you for a great Saturday night!

"Fun stuff!
Loved the excellent presentations!"

"The big telescope that takes images was so cool. Mr. D
was so insightful! WELL DONE."

"This place is beautiful and the docents breathe life into the study of Astronomy making it tangible, impressive, understandable, and the docents are just as in awe as you are."