Summer Star Parties at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in 2015

Posted by as Events, Special Events

The historic Plaskett telescope
The historic Plaskett telescope

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre
with the support of The National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg

Summer Star Parties

at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
5071 West Saanich Road

September 12th, 2015

7:30 PM TO 11:00 PM (Gates close at 10:00PM)


  • Tours of the historic Plaskett telescope
  • Astronomy lectures and presentations
  • Music in the dome
  • Night sky viewing
  • “Constellation Walks”

Please download and print the poster as a reminder for these events!

For safety reasons, we are limited to hosting 200 visitors at the Observatory at a time. If you arrive and are turned away, please try again later, or on another Saturday evening. We are open twelve Saturday evenings this summer to help accommodate you. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

Please note there is absolutely no stopping or parking along West Saanich Road adjacent to the Observatory entrance. Smoking anywhere on Observatory grounds is also prohibited. Please, foot traffic is NOT allowed on the road up to the top! Visitors may not park at the bottom gate or on W.Saanich Rd and walk up to the top.

If you require assistance while at the Observatory, please ask any of the Commissionaires, or RASC members on site. RASC members can be identified by their safety vests.

For more information about these events, please contact Sherry Buttnor


23 Responses to “Summer Star Parties at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in 2015”

  1. Laura

    I’m looking for a star party on the 27th of September for the 4th blood moon in a row! Does anyone know of one? I’m not sure where to expect the moon… in the east, or west? Gotta find the right place to take pictures! Thanks…

  2. Webmaster

    Aug 29th UPDATE! There is NO POWER on Observatory Hill due to the wind storm. The estimate from BC Hydro for power on is as late as 12am. We may have to call off tonight’s public star party. Please stay tuned for updates as we try to work around this.

  3. Vanessa

    Do the guests get to have a look through the telescope? I would really like to have a chance to see one of the spiral galaxies shown in the photo slides above.

  4. Vanessa

    I am just wondering if the event gets cancelled if the weather conditions are not favorable for observing, like today. Do they ever reschedule the event for weekends when the sky is clear?

    I was planning to go this evening, but changed my mind now that it is rainy.

  5. Sherry

    John: It’s difficult to advise when to arrive for the best chances of getting in. Lately, a pattern has developed where visitors have been arriving early, and staying late. While we can’t blame them for wanting to enjoy the evening with us, it does make it tricky for people waiting at the gate. Visitors waiting at the gate may elect to wait (if there is room), or leave to try again later, or on another evening. Those who elect to wait (or try later) usually do get in later on the same evening.

  6. Sherry

    Ali: BC Transit’s website seems to indicate there is no bus service to the observatory on Saturday evenings, but you should contact them dirsctly and ask:
    Phone: 250-382-6161
    Keep in mind that foot and bicycle traffic are not permitted on the road up to the observatory for safety reasons.

  7. John

    Having tried to attend at 8:30pm (let the early crowd disperse) with visitors from out of town, all I can do is pass on what the flag person at the entrance said: come back another week at 6 or 6:30pm and hope you can get in. There were about 8 cars waiting at the bottom of the hill to see if someone else would leave. Other than that, I would say that about 1 car per minute was being turned away…

    So, a great thing to do and a low admin way to do it but not worth trying to go after 6:30pm-ish. Probably if it’s cloudy (!) it’s easier to get in. Or, if you don’t mind failing to get in, try turning up after dark – some might have left.

    Instead went to Island View beach for the beautiful reflected sunset.

  8. Ali

    Hi, we’ll be coming from downtown Victoria but we need to take public transit. Is there any bus that stops nearby? Thanks!

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    […] Victoria, B.C., the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre, also runs public programs during the summer. This is Canada’s second-largest […]

  10. Sherry

    Tanya: It’s difficult to advise when to arrive. Lately there have been long lineups at the gate, waiting for the 7:30 opening time. Same with most of the rest of the evening, after opening.
    Commissionaires may wave you along if you arrive at any point in the evening, and there’s a lineup waiting. So you could either try to arrive early and hope for the best, or arrive later on.

  11. Tanya

    Hoping to come tomorrow night, July 25, 2015 for the Star Party. Is it wise to come early, before 7:30? I’ve never been before. Just wondering if people line up to get in or not. Also, if cloudy or rainy, do the presentations and planetarium parts of the exhibit continue?

  12. Webmaster

    No reservations are taken for this event…just show up!

  13. Gillian

    Do we have to reserve a place…. or just turn up? We’re planning to come July 25th.

  14. Chris and Deb Wood

    We’re hoping to bring our 14 year old grandson next Saturday !!

  15. Lauri Roche

    There is room for approximately 100 cars over three parking lots on the hill but only about 23 spots are right at the top where the Observatory is. Once those are filled the two lower parking lots are used. Our Commissionaires will direct you to the best spots available at the time. There are always two or three spots set aside at the top of the hill for those with mobility issues. Please just let the Commissionaires know when you enter the gates that you require one of these spots. Alternatively people can be dropped off at the top and then the car redirected and parked below. At the end of the evening pick-up can be arranged.

  16. Laura

    Where is there any or best place for parking? What about parking for the handicapped?

  17. Webmaster

    Take all the photos you wish, Mike.

  18. Mike

    Just wondering if any photography is allowed.

Comments are closed.