Outreach Programs

School and Public Astronomical Education

Michaelangelo's Birth of Adam, Sistine Chapel

In addition to the standard Friday public open houses, periodic special observing events conducted by Sommers-Bausch Observatory, our annual public Astronomy Day, and the weekly public programs and startalks presented by Fiske Planetarium, the Observatory and Planetarium also support, directly or indirectly, additional public and educational outreach programs in astronomy and the sciences.

Field Trips to Sommers-Bausch

The Observatory receives 8 to 12 organized field trips to SBO by schools and groups (scout troops, churches, conventions, etc.) each year. Usually, such trips are scheduled to coordinate with other presentations through Fiske Planetarium.

Depending upon the needs and interests of the group, programs can last for a half-hour to 1.5 hours in length. You may wish to simply tour the facilities, or have a short talk or demonstration about telescopes and things astronomical, or view live images and spectra from the Sun (weather permitting) with our heliostat. Programs can be tuned to accommodate educational levels from grade school (grades 4 and up - please, no younger children) through college - just let us know, and we'll see if we can meet your needs.

We're limited in the number of programs we can offer each year, and also limited in available times and dates (to avoid classroom conflicts) when presentations or tours can take place. Also, be aware that there is an end-of-the-school-year rush - so please, make arrangements early!

For arranging formal Observatory presentations or activities coordinated with Fiske Planetarium, please e-mail Fiske or call the office at 303-492-5002. If you're interested only in an informal tour of Sommers-Bausch involving a limited number of people, you can directly contact Fabio Mezzalira (303-492-6732) at the Observatory.

Drop-In Visitors

Visitors are always welcome to drop by the Observatory during the weekday. At the very least, you'll be able to peruse our hallway displays and gallery of professional and amateur astrophotography. And if we're not too busy, we'll also be happy to give you a brief tour of the telescopes, and perhaps a glimpse of the Sun if the heliostat is up and running - just ask Fabio in Room C150. Better yet, give us a call (303-492-6732) or e-mail to schedule an appointment.

We discourage evening visitors on nights other than those set aside for public viewing (see above). Monday through Thursday evenings are generally reserved for class use, and the teaching assistants will probably be too busy with their students and the telescopes to be able to spend time with you.

Science Discovery

The Science Discovery Program is designed for grade-school children through junior high, and offers afternoon sessions and summer programs in just about all science fields. The Observatory occasionally provides space and facilities for some of the sessions.

CU Wizards

Although the superb CU Wizards program is organized and sponsored by the Physics Department, we feel that we're a part of it since some of the Wizards magically appear from our astronomy department. Monthly programs presented on the CU campus are designed primarily for grades 5 through 9 - but are highly enjoyable by anyone who is still a kid at heart!


We're always happy to answer your questions about astronomy - please give us a call at (303) 492-6732, or send e-mail to fabio.mezzalira@colorado.edu. If we can't answer your questions, we'll try to direct you to someone who can.

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