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Things Are Looking Up

When the Observatory re-opens, the public will be welcome to view the stars through the historical Fitz telescope, just like astronomers did in the Observatory’s earliest days. This site will be updated with public viewing information as it becomes available.

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Observing
the Heavens

We invite you to see
the sky with us.

In 2021, visitors will have different opportunities to observe the sky using Observatory telescopes. The Fitz telescope in the dome provides wonderful views of the moon and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons are clearly visible.

Although light pollution in Ann Arbor makes deep sky observing difficult, under the right conditions, the Fitz can also be used to view nebulae (interstellar gas clouds) and other galaxies.

A regular program of solar observing will also be undertaken when the Observatory reopens, using appropriate filters. Sun spots, solar prominences, and solar flares will be part of the experience.

All observing experiences will be accompanied by explanatory presentations and exhibits and will be led by trained astronomers.

All observing events are free. Stay tuned for more detailed information.

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Astronomy Nights

Regular astronomy nights will take two forms:

Astronomy Public Open Houses

Observing events in which anyone is free to drop by, getting a brief experience at the telescope eyepiece on a first-come, first-served basis.

Astronomy Student Open Houses

The same as public open houses, but with access restricted to U-M students with proper ID.

Astronomy Tutorials

Observing with a much smaller group of people, providing more time at the telescope and a more in-depth learning experience. Astronomy tutorials will require advance registration.

Solar Days

The Observatory will host regular sessions for viewing the sun — and occasionally the moon and planets — during the daytime. Solar Day sessions will be public open houses.

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Take a Tour

When the Detroit Observatory reopens, we will offer tours of the Observatory as well as walking tours of campus. Two tour examples are given below. Check back here closer to re-opening for more information on these and other tours.

The Original 40 Acres

Join us for a 1.5-hour walking tour covering highlights of the first 70 years of U-M history. This tour will explore questions such as: What do the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Badawademi have to do with the founding of the University? How did the Diag change from pasture to the tree-covered expanse it is today? Before the President’s House was the President’s House, what was it? Why is a plaque commemorating the admission of women located in Angell Hall?

Engineering Breakthroughs

This one-hour tour of North Campus examines breakthrough moments in U-M science and engineering. This tour will explore questions such as: What is U-M’s connection to the creation of information theory, which made modern information technology possible? What was the blue glow emanating from a pool in the Phoenix Memorial Laboratory and why was it there? Why is the name DeVolson Wood important in the history of the University?

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Getting to the Observatory

The U-M Detroit Observatory is located at 1398 E. Ann Street (at the corner of Ann and Observatory Streets) in Ann Arbor, MI.

Our Hours:

Monday–Friday: 9am–5pm
Saturday: 9am–1pm
Sunday: Closed

Parking

Daytime: Parking is very limited around the Observatory during the daytime, Monday through Friday. There is metered parking along Ann Street and Observatory Street. The University’s Palmer Drive Parking Structure, off Washtenaw by Palmer Commons, offers paid visitor parking during the daytime ($1.80/hour; operating hours are 8:00am to 10:00pm, Mon-Sat). Visitors may also choose to use Ann Arbor city lots or other U-M visitor lots farther away and walk or bus to the Observatory. Learn More.

Evening: Free visitor parking is available at the Ann Street Parking Structure, the Washington Heights Parking Lot, and the Glen Street Parking Structure after 6:00 pm Mon-Fri and on weekends.

Parking Maps

Accessibility

The Detroit Observatory addition and the main floor of the Detroit Observatory building are fully handicapped accessible, but the dome is not, meaning that visitors with mobility issues will not have direct access to the Fitz telescope. Many events will, however, give visitors indirect access to the telescope via video stream from the dome to the other levels of the Observatory. Visitors with accessibility concerns are advised to check the schedule for those events that will include video streaming.