How often do you have observatory programs?
We usually host a couple per month. They are dependent on weather and what’s up in the sky! We try for a Daytime Sky series event and an Open House each month.
How do I get tickets?
Links corresponding to the different event registrations are provided on our public programming page. Ticket requests can be made on the first day of the month of the scheduled observatory program, beginning at 9 a.m. If you have trouble accessing your ticket after registering, please email email@example.com.
Are tickets available by phone?
How much do tickets cost?
Our monthly outreach programs are free, but we occasionally have fee-based, ticketed events. For free events, please consider bringing a cash or check donation to support our efforts. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and they go directly toward helping maintain the equipment and supporting observatory programs. You can always donate online by selecting the Sumerlin Observatory Fund in the dropdown list.
How many total tickets are available?
There are 20 tickets available for each observatory program.
How many tickets can I get at one time?
One person can request a maximum of four tickets.
Does everyone need a ticket, regardless of age?
Yes. We can have only 20 guests at this time. Children of any age are included in this number.
How soon after I request tickets will I know whether I have them?
You should receive an email message within five business days of your request. If you were successful in getting tickets, the message will have your ticket(s) attached. If you experience a delayed response or have trouble accessing your tickets, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least one day before the scheduled event.
What happens if I have tickets but can't make it?
We understand extenuating circumstances, but we ask that guests not take advantage of our free policy. If you are allotted tickets and can’t attend the program, please redistribute your tickets to others or let us know by emailing email@example.com. To encourage respect for our limited capacity, we have a no-show policy that prohibits registration for other events at the observatory for the next four months. We appreciate your understanding.
Will you redistribute my tickets for me?
With 48 hours or more advance notice, we will redistribute your tickets to others on the waiting list. To cancel, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if there are clouds or rain the night of the program?
In the event of full cloud cover or inclement weather, it’s likely the event will be canceled. A weather decision will be made by 3 p.m. on the day of the event. Emails will be sent to registered participants by 5 p.m.
How will I know whether the observatory program is canceled or not?
In the event of a cancellation, we will send an email to the email address supplied during registration. You may also check our Facebook page for updates.
Are my tickets for one month good for later observatory programs?
No. The ticket distribution process starts over for the next month. If you are unable to attend an event for which you have been allotted tickets, please redistribute your tickets to others. Those who have confirmed reservations and who do not fill at least 50% of their spots will be prohibited from making reservations for the next four months.
What sorts of things can I expect to see?
It depends on the time of year and what might be visible. You may see the craters in the moon, one or more planets, a globular cluster, a double star, a galaxy, a planetary nebula. We have a whole universe of objects from which to choose!
Will I have to wait in a long line to spend 10 seconds looking through a telescope?
No. We have multiple stations for viewing and learning about the night sky. Our stations often include naked-eye observing and constellation lore, astronomical binoculars, 8-inch telescopes (each pointing to a different object), and the 20-inch Gilbert telescope. You will have time to savor the view and ask questions of the docents.
How long do programs last?
Some learning and viewing activities are free flow, while others begin at scheduled times. Your experience may last between 45 minutes to two hours, depending on how and where you choose to spend your time. Check the monthly program details on the observatory programs page for more information.
Is there an age limit for who can come?
Not at all! Parents are the best judges of how long their children can be out at night without getting fussy. Viewing through the Gilbert telescope does require climbing some stairs in the dark, but we have volunteers who will help you both up and down. Occasionally, our programs also include a planet walk of about 500 feet to the observatory. We usually rotate monthly through different planet walks on evenings when the stars are obscured. If you are unable to make this walk, special arrangements can be made when you arrive.
What rules do I need to be aware of at the observatory?
- Don’t touch anything unless you are told it’s OK.
- Children should not be left unsupervised. If you or your children are responsible for damaging equipment, you will be asked to donate toward its repair/replacement, and you will be asked to leave the event.
- Don’t bring white-light flashlights, as they ruin everyone’s night vision. We have red lights that let you see just fine but still preserve your eye’s dark adaptation.
- Have fun!
How can I arrange for my scout troop, classroom, private school, home schoolers, etc., to have a private viewing at the observatory?
We have limited availability for private viewing sessions. Email email@example.com to ask if we can accommodate your group.
What if you still haven't answered my question?
First, please be sure the answer isn’t already on this page. We have tried our best to include the questions we get asked most often. If you have read this far, you have probably already found your answer! If not, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.