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. www.skymaps.com) 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!
 

Location

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.
 

Groups

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, contact our Public Outreach Coordinator at least three weeks prior to the desired observing session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Schedule

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 more questions please email the outreach coordinator at mifa@umn.edu

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.

Date MIfA Staff On-site Contact Topic
2/07/20 Jin-Ah Kim
Laura Salo
kim00513@umn.edu
salo0090@umn.edu
Betelgeuse
2/14/20 Gwen Elledge
Jordan Bartlett
elled006@umn.edu
bartl272@umn.edu
Exoplanets
2/21/20 Irene Moskowitz
Gwen Elledge
mosko016@umn.edu
elled006@umn.edu
Black holes, imaging & pop culture
2/28/20 Jin-Ah Kim
Laura Salo
kim00513@umn.edu
salo0090@umn.edu
History of Telescopes
3/06/20 Nathan Eggen
Jon Brashear
eggen091@umn.edu
brash017@umn.edu
How Stars Work
3/20/20 Darcy Ballantyne
Hayley Williams
Nathan Eggen
darcy017@umn.edu
will5099@umn.edu
eggen091@umn.edu
Dwarf planets
3/27/20 Alexander Criswell
Jordan Bartlett
crisw015@umn.edu
bartl272@umn.edu
Hubble
4/03/20 Jenna Burgett
Lauren Laufman
burge241@umn.edu
laufm008@umn.edu
ISS, Crew Dragon/Starliner
4/10/20 Irene Moskowitz
Mike Makmur
mosko016@umn.edu
makmur@umn.edu
Dark Matter/Dark Energy
4/17/20 Jon Brashear
Jenna Burgett
brash017@umn.edu
burge241@umn.edu
Climates of the Solar System
4/24/20 Alexander Criswell
Lauren Laufman
Hayley Williams
crisw015@umn.edu
laufm008@umn.edu
will5099@umn.edu
Starlink satellites
5/01/20 John Brashear
Darcy Ballantyne
brash017@umn.edu
darcy017@umn.edu
TBD