For the best sightseeing in Sunriver, you have to come
out at night.
We offer nightly viewing in the summer, with guided constellation tours and expert assistance. Whether you're an accomplished amateur astronomer or a first timer, you'll be amazed by the views we have to offer.
The Oregon Observatory is open six nights a week, Tuesday-Sunday, in the summer. We plan to be open on Wednesday and Saturday nights in September and October in 2016 (See our hours of operation).
While every night is different, a typical evening program between June 15th and Labor Day goes something like this:
Typical Schedule (Times will vary slightly and program will begin earlier during winter months)
- 8:00pm (Fall and Winter)
- Guests arrive at 8:00pm in the fall and winter. DRESS WARM! In winter, serious cold weather or ski gear is required. In summer, prepare for Central Oregon temperature swings of up to forty degrees - a jacket, long pants, hat, and insect repellent are recommended. Guests pay their admission at the Nature Center building, receive a glow stick as proof of admission, then head out to the observatory for viewing and getting oriented! Telescopes will already be aimed at a variety of objects and ready for viewing. Guests will also have the opportunity to operate Dobsoninan telescopes behind the Observatory - after a quick lesson with one of our staff members - while waiting for darkness to properly set in.
- 8:30pm (Winter)
- Evening presentation begins in the Pozzi education building or in the open-air amphitheater, both of which are located adjacent to the Nature Center. This is a fun introduction to astronomy and the cosmos suitable for the entire family. From time to time, guest speakers will give more specialized talks.
- 9:00pm (Winter)
- Guests return to the Observatory for more spectacular viewing under dark skies. If the skies are clear and the moon cooperates, nebulae and galaxies light years away will be easily visible in the cool Central Oregon nights. In the summer, the Milky Way fills the sky, meteors zip by, and there's no better place on Earth. Guest occasionally get a chance to see the International Space Station or watch an "Iridium flare" from satellites as they pass by.
- 9:30pm (Winter)
- One of our staff will guide you through the constellations and explain some of the mythology behind them using a brilliant green laser that appears to reach out and touch the stars. Guests are welcome to continue looking deep into the cosmos with telescopes pointed either by themselves or by the staff at this time.
- 10:00pm (Winter)
- Guests enjoy their final viewing, and return home with a better understanding of our universe.