Observatory

A photo of the observatory

We’re excited to share the stars with you! Starting in May 2022, the Hesje Observatory is open for drop-in observing on clear nights. Our current schedule can be seen here, and an additional schedule of open observing times will be posted weekly on our twitter page, as well as any weather updates that may affect said schedule. If you are unsure if the observatory is open or closed, please do not hesitate to email hesjeobservatory@ualberta.ca and ask. 

Drop-in rate: $15 /person. Pay at the door, debit or credit only. Please see the observatory twitter page for latest updates and open times before coming to drop-in!

The observatory is also still available for bookings for our in-person Stargazing and Astronomy program, which includes 2 hours of uninterrupted time at the observatory for your group. See the Program & Events tab for details about the program.

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 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.

Telescopes

17″ Corrected Dall-Kirkham

A photo of the 17-inch Corrected Dall-Kirkham telescopeThe 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.

Celestron Edge HD 11″

A photo of the Celestrod Edge HD 11-inch telescopeWe 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.

Luther

A photo of the 8-inch Luther telescopeOne 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.

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!