Did you know Killarney is one of only two provincial parks with an observatory?
And the park observatory, which hosts a variety of astronomy programs throughout the summer, recently got an upgrade!
In spring of 2018, the observatory in Killarney Provincial Park was upgraded to feature a new research-grade 16″ telescope capable of full computer and smartphone control, an attached 5″ refractor for outstanding astro-photography.
The original telescope is a Mease Cassegrain design with a manual mount. This makes it easy for beginners to get the hang of moving the telescope toward objects without worrying about confusing electronics.
In a park not too far away…
Killarney’s summer astronomy programs include drop-in nights with guest astronomers, as well as formal presentations and planet walks.
Join an astronomer-in-residence every Tuesday night at the park observatory for a chance to get a close-up view of Jupiter, Saturn, and some of the most obscure celestial bodies in the night sky!
Self-use program (summer only)
As of 2017, Killarney has offered a self-use program for the observatory. This was created to allow anyone with an interest in astronomy to explore the night sky using a telescope.
Never touched a telescope before? No problem. The program was designed with all experience levels in mind.
Families or individuals can sign out the observatory for themselves, and spend an evening exploring the night sky.
How it works
Guests are asked to come to the gate house between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm to sign out the observatory for the evening. Sign-out is on a first come-first serve basis. Observatory use requires a deposit of $500.
The gate house will have a schedule for when staff are available to do observatory orientations. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll head to the site with a staff member (who will provide instruction on how to use the observatory, including the dome and the telescope).
Once it’s dark, gather at the observatory, and spend the night looking at planets, the moon, double stars, galaxies and more!
We ask stargazers to:
- fill out the log book with your observations
- return the key by 10:00 am the next day (and retrieve your deposit)
- complete a questionnaire letting us know how your night went
This is an amazing opportunity for everyone to learn about what is in our night sky, and spend a great evening stargazing in Killarney Provincial Park.
Want a preview of what to look for on your visit?
Check out our “Eyes on the Skies” series, written by Bruce Waters, for night sky highlights.