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Visiting the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Calgary's Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is a facility dedicated to expanding our knowledge of the Universe and educating the public about the wonders of Astronomy. Our site provides easy access from Calgary and an unobstructed view of the entire night time sky. By day, we boast stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. Come visit us and learn amazing things about astronomy and space science!

Quick Facts about the RAO

Did you know...

. . . that the RAO has one of the BIGGEST telescopes in Canada?

That's right!  The 1.8 meter diameter of the A.R. Cross Telescope's primary mirror completes the set of the three largest telescopes in Canada. The other 1.8 meter telescopes are located near Victoria, BC at the Center of the Universe, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory  and in Richmond Hill, Ont. at the David Dunlap Observatory .  Like these, the ARCT observes the universe in the visible part of the spectrum, but its specialized secondary mirror and InSb detector also makes it the largest infrared telescope in the country.

. . . that the RAO's Clark-Milone Telescope is remotely controllable via the internet?

That's right! The 0.41 meter CMT is commomly used by researchers and students from the University campus.  The CMT also has a piggy-back 0.36 meter telescope equipped with a wide-field color CCD camera - perfect for science teachers who want their students to experience astronomical imaging right from their schools!

. . . that the RAO has telescopes and detectors for studying the Suns magnetic activity, and the dynamics of hydrogen gas in the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy?

That's right! The RAO's "Cube" is home to a computer controllable 0.36 meter telescope, and with special narrow-band filters, solar activity can be explored.  Also, the 3.3 meter radio telescope detects gas clouds in the interstellar medium, and allows a measurement of their speeds.  With it, the gravitational influence of dark matter in our galaxy can be detected.

. . . that the RAO has a 2200 square foot Interpretive Centre with educational displays about astronomy?

That's right! The 2200 sq foot Interpretive Centre includes a state-of-the-art classroom facilities including video conferencing equipment, an outdoor amphitheatre area, and educational displays about astronomy and space science.

Where is the RAO?

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is located near Priddis (Alberta), about 30km southwest of the Calgary city center.  It is less than an hour's drive from the University of Calgary (U of C).

  • Take Macleod Trail South.
  • After passing Midnapore, turn right onto Highway 22X (this is the Marquis of Lorne Avenue), heading west towards the mountains.
  • Continue past Spruce Meadows, past 37th St, past 69th St, and 83rd St, to a major intersection where highway 22X meets highway 22 (this interscecion is illuminated after dark).
  • Turn left toward Millarville (heading south).
  • About 2km down highway 22, look for the big RAO roadsign on the right side of the road. Just beyond the sign, turn left and follow the gravel road up the hill to the parking area.

Map

Click on Interactive Google Map below or download pdf version of map

GPS coordinates:  Lat 50.868039 deg N,  Long 114.291142 deg W
Highway address 200, 198070 Hwy 22

Please NOTE: Please use map below - apple maps is NOT correct

 

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