Okanagan Observatory


Public Open House Nights: The Okanagan Observatory hosts free public observing nights every Friday. We will be pointing out the Milky Way and constellations with special astronomical laser pointers as we tour the night sky. Club members will have their telescopes on hand and be using the observatory 25 inch telescope to show off celestial wonders such as the Moon, planets, comets, dying stars, stellar nurseries, globular clusters, open clusters and galaxies. 

The Okanagan Observatory will resume free wheelchair accessible bus transportation: A free mobility challenged bus service is offered for one day each calendar month for persons in wheelchairs or other mobility challenges. This free transportation service complements the Observatory's recent acquisition of an Articulated Relay Eyepiece (ARE), which allowed the observatory to become one of very few facilities on this planet equipped to provide live telescope viewing for mobility challenged people.

For information on this year’s schedule of the free bus service please contact: info@okanaganobservatory.ca or call 250-763-6962.

25 inch

Observatory Hints: Please dress warmly and good shoes are a must to avoid cold feet. Drinks of any kind are not allowed near telescopes. No white light flashlights; red cellophane and elastic bands will be available. NO pets please! Please drive carefully and watch for wildlife on the road when visiting the Observatory. The large population of Deer in the area are very active at night. You can phone the Okanagan Observatory Event Phone, 250-300-8SKY (8759) for an event update. 

Directions: The Okanagan Observatory is 4 kms up Big White Rd from Hwy 33. That makes it only 35 kms from Rutland Rd. Coming from Kelowna the entry road is on the left, there is a large sign on the side of the road just before the entrance and the entry roadway is lined with flashing yellow traffic lights. Club members will have their telescopes pointed at many wondrous celestial objects such as the Moon, Planets, Galaxies, clusters of 500,000 stars, dying stars, double stars and super nova remnants. We will be pointing out the Milky Way and constellations with special astronomical laser pointers as we tour the night sky. 

The 25" Scope (constructed 2008): Thanks to private donations and funding grants from B.C. Gaming and the Central Okanagan Foundation, the 25” telescope is now available for public use. RASCOC members dedicated two years of volunteer time to constructing this custom built reflecting telescope. Able to track celestial objects for long periods of time, it’s design also incorporates a folded light path which allows for a lower than normal eyepiece viewing location, thus eliminating the need for ladders to access the eyepiece as is common in many large aperture telescope applications.

25 inch

Sky Theatre (constructed 2010):
Every public night is introduced with a 30-minute educational presentation at the Sky Theatre where astronomer-volunteers give guests an informative tour of our nocturnal heritage. Guests will be treated to a wealth of information on subjects such as; the mythical star-stories of the constellations, the touch of advancing technology evident in the ubiquitous silent passage of man-made satellites, the congested glow of rich star clusters, beautiful double star systems, stellar evolution-in-action as revealed by the subtle shades of colour in stars, and appreciation of the meagre embers of light cast off from distant galaxies into the boundless maw of space-time millions of years ago, now to whisper hints of infinity into the imagination of guests to the Sky Theatre.

sky theatre

Radio Astronomy (construction 2014):
Begun in June, 2011, this program received its first radio signals from the Galaxy in November, 2014. Contributors to this success include a UBCO Capstone Project team working on the tower design and mount, Okanagan College students and staff constructing delicate electronic boards, and mentors from Canada's primary radio observatory (D.R.A.O.) south of Penticton. The signals include information on the movement of vast clouds of hydrogen gas, some of them approaching Earth (arrival time: millions of years from now!) Developments are ongoing, and featured in a separate website: Okanagan Radio Astronomy

Reach out and touch a star: Many of the RASCOC volunteers carry special astronomical laser pointers that stab into the night and appear to touch the objects of our attention.


Wheel Chair access:
Having wheelchair access to all aspects of the Okanagan Observatory is a guiding principle of the founding members of the Okanagan Observatory project. In 2014 Interior Savings and Credit Union donated funds for special articulated eyepiece which allows direct visual observation of astronomical objects. Also RASCOC members, David and Dorothy Counts, donated a camera that will project “live” images of what the operating telescopes are looking at.

Please feel very welcome to attend the public viewing nights.