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Visit Our Observatories

Dedication to Education

For decades, education and public outreach have been central to the missions of the McCormick Observatory and the Department of Astronomy. We continue this mission by hosting a variety of programs available to the public. These include our public night program (held on the first and third Fridays of each month) and our group visits (made available to educational groups on the second and fourth Fridays of each month).

  • McCormick Observatory Public Nights: One of the oldest observatory public programs in the country, the McCormick Observatory has been welcoming members of the Charlottesville and UVA communities through the Public Night program. Twice a month, we open our doors for the public to experience the wonders of the Universe. The McCormick Observatory and its telescopes were used to measure the distance of nearby celestial objects through the 1990s. Today, it serves as an educational tool with a rich history rooted in the foundation of the University. Attendance to each Public Night requires prior registration on Eventbrite.
  • McCormick Observatory Group Visits: On Friday evenings when we don't have Public Nights, educational groups can schedule visits to the Observatory. Visitors ranging from Girl Scouts to assisted living residents are welcome to join us in an evening catered to your group's educational goal. We are fortunate to partner with the Charlottesville Astronomical Society to run these visits. Prior registration and communication with our administrative staff are required prior to group visits.
  • Fan Mountain Public Nights: (Cancelled Spring 2024) Held twice a year (once in the spring and once in the fall), this event is a rare opportunity to visit UVA's second observatory in Covesville, VA. Home to 4 telescopes, Fan Mountain Observatory functions as the Astronomy Department's main research observatory. Visitors get to experience the different telescopes during a fun-filled evening of celestial viewing! Attendance to these events require prior registration.


McCormick Public Night