The Universe is Here
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.
- Map and Directions
- 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.
- Bring warm clothing, even in summer—observing is done outdoors.
- There is a short walk from the parking area to the Observatory and you may wish to bring a flashlight.
- White light is strongly discouraged (it negatively affects your nighttime vision). Docents will provide you with red cellophane to cover your flashlight.
- Alcohol is prohibited on Observatory grounds.
- 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.
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