Observatory Public Night Program and Schedule
For the Public Night Information Line: (434) 243-1885
The March 6th Public Night has been , due to weather conditions making the area unsafe for visitors at night.
The next Public Night is scheduled for March 20th, from 9-11pm EDT.
To provide the public with a chance to observe the stars and planets through the McCormick and Fan Mountain telescopes and to educate the public concerning the research work and history of the observatories.
Each public night includes observing with all of the telescopes (weather permitting), audio-visual presentations, museum exhibits, and tours of the Observatory. All faculty, postdocs and graduate students participate through a rotating schedule. Please call (434) 243-1885 for the Public Night Information Line.
McCormick Public Nights
Leander McCormick Observatory is open on the first and third Friday night of each month (except holidays) for 2 hours. McCormick Observatory is located on the western edge of the UVA grounds (click here for directions).
Please Note: Owing to the crowd size, groups cannot be accommodated at McCormick Public Nights. Please read the section below concerning group visits.
Please call (434) 243-1885 for the Public Night Information Line.
Fan Mountain Public Nights
Each April and October, a special public night is held at the Fan Mountain Observing Station (located 13 miles south of town at the end of a 3 mile long gravel road). See the calendar above for the precise dates for a particular year. Tickets, which are free, are required for Fan Mountain public nights (except for Friends of the Leander McCormick Observatory). Please Note: Owing to the demand for tickets, groups cannot be accommodated at Fan Mountain.
For more information, please call (434) 243-1885 (the Public Night Information Line).
Getting Tickets for Fan Mountain
Requests for Tickets are only accepted at certain times of the year. All requests must be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope or tickets cannot be sent. You must also list the number of tickets (up to 6) that you need (individual groups larger than 6 cannot be accommodated at Fan Mountain Public Nights).
Friends of the Leander McCormick Observatory do NOT need tickets for Fan Mountain Public Nights, they should simply bring their membership card up the mountain with them.
When to Request Tickets
Tickets will be mailed out 2-3 weeks prior to the public night, on a first come, first served basis until the supply is exhausted. Again, only requests with a self-address stamped envelope, and a number (up to 6) of tickets requested can be accommodated.Send a self-addressed stamped envelope, along with the number of tickets requested (up to 6), to:
Fan Mountain Public Night P.O. Box 400325 Charlottesville, VA 22904-04325
Group visits to McCormick Observatory
The Leander McCormick Observatory is open to Educational Groups with ADVANCE RESERVATIONS on the SECOND and FOURTH Friday night of the month. Groups MUST call (434) 924-7494 to schedule a visit. Group nights are reserved quickly; it is advisable to reserve a group night at least several months in advance.
Please Note: Owing to the demand for tickets, groups cannot be accommodated at Fan Mountain Public Nights.
The Astronomy Department can be contacted at (434) 924-7494, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.