The telescope dome located on top of Tate Hall.

Public Telescope Viewing

Please note: Due to the University's temporary closure, Public Observing Nights have been suspended until further notice.

Join us every Friday night (check the schedule below) for rooftop observing through our historic telescope in the dome of the John T. Tate Hall. There will be a presentation followed by outdoor observing (weather-permitting). You will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, we provide free star maps (e.g. and are happy to show visitors how to use them. Throughout the evening, we encourage questions from the audience and enjoy discussing topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.

The presentation begins at 8:00pm in the Tate Laboratory of Physics, room 101. Telescope observing usually begins around 8:25-8:30pm upstairs in Tate 510.

The presentation and outdoor observing are free for all to attend!


The presentation portion of each event will be held in John T. Tate Hall, 101.

Accessibility and Parking

John T. Tate Hall is accessible via a ramp at the Church St Entrance. Closest parking ramp is Church Street Garage. Fees are listed on the website.


Often, girl scout troops and various other groups enjoy attending our public viewing nights. If you would like to bring a large group (more than 15) to public viewing, please email the outreach coordinator at at least three weeks prior to the desired observing session.

Frequently Asked Questions


The public viewing is scheduled every Friday during the University's Fall and Spring semesters. A presentation will be given at each event regardless of the weather, so we will always have something for you. Observing will follow the presentation if the weather is acceptable (clear with wind chill above -15° F, see the FAQ above for additional details). For other questions, please email the outreach coordinator at

The presentation begins at 8:00pm in the Tate Laboratory of Physics, room 101. After the presentation, we move up to Tate 510 where we can access the telescopes on the roof deck and the historic 10.5" refractor in the dome. Telescope observing usually begins around 8:30pm.