Observatory

Thank you for your interest!

Currently, University of Alberta buildings are closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, but we're excited to share the stars with you! Please fill out the following form and we will contact you once we're able to welcome you in person.

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The Hesje Observatory is located at the Augustana Miquelon Lake Research Station (AMLRS). Miquelon Provincial Park is a dark sky preserve, so it is an ideal place for an astronomical observatory, as there is minimal light pollution to hinder the excellent view of the night sky. The dream of having an astronomical observatory was made possible by Alumnus Brian Hesje. See the full story about his contribution here.

The telescope in the observatory provides a digital feed to the classroom in the AMLRS, and will eventually be able to be remotely accessible at Augustana and online. There is an observation deck around the dome where portable telescopes can be set up.

The Hesje Observatory had its virtual grand opening on January 12, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Visit the Augustana YouTube channel's Hesje Observatory playlist to view the virtual launch video, along with a tour facility, and a timelapse video of the building of the observatory. 

The addition of the observatory will benefit Augustana students, professors, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in astronomy. The observatory is a center for opportunity, giving astronomy enthusiasts access to the high-tech instruments necessary to study beyond Earth and into the cosmos.

What tonight's sky will look like at Miquelon Lake

Weather in Camrose from Environment Canada

Programs

There will be many upcoming programs and special events held at the observatory, including tours, presentations, star parties, and camps. Programs will be available for university groups as well as K-12 classes, and observation nights of important astronomical events will be open to the public.

You may contact the Hesje Observatory at hesjeobservatory@ualberta.ca

Research

Undergraduate university students will work on projects that contribute data to worldwide astronomy research collaborations, such as the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

Check out NASA's Sky Events Calendar for the next upcoming astronomical event to watch!

Telescopes

The telescope in the observatory is a 17” Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK17) from PlaneWave, and it is mounted permanently on a PlaneWave L-series 500 altazimuth mount, as it weighs almost 50 kg. It has quartz mirrors for thermal stability, and a rotating focuser for ease when imaging. With an aperture (the opening in the telescope) of 17 inches, it has very high light gathering power, allowing researchers and other users to see and study deep into the stars.

We also have a portable telescope, the Celestron Edge HD 11". It is an Aplanatic Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with excellent optics and an equatorial mount. This telescope will be more dedicated to photographing night sky objects to share with the world.

One of our original telescopes, dubbed "Luther" to honor the heritage of Augustana, is an 8" Dobsonian handmade by two Augustana students as part of a Directed Study course. It is on an altazimuth mount and is not motorized, but it is simple to use for viewing the night sky.