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About Observatory Programs

The Observatory is currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus. You may view our past lectures and virtual programs on YouTube and sign up for our newsletters to stay informed about future programs. You may also find answers to your questions in the Library FAQs or Observatory FAQs.

RMO Virtual Programs

This is a more passive program which highlights outputs previously featured on our daily tours, including time-lapse footage from the solar telescope and all-sky camera and weather station data plots. These videos include background music with minimal narration for a relaxing and pleasing viewing experience.

Watch on YouTube!

In these videos, City Astronomer Eric McLaughlin uses space simulation software to visit various places in the Universe. A more visually-driven stand-in for in-person lectures, these captivating tours of the cosmos are as informative as they are beautiful.

Watch on YouTube!

In these interactive live-stream events, we use several telescopes for viewing the Moon through its different phases, highlighting interesting geographical features and landing sites of past and current space missions. If time permits, we also try to take a peek at any visible planets. This format allows for engagement with the Observatory Team in real time!

Watch on YouTube!

Occasionally special events such as conjunctions, transits, and eclipses come along and we hold special live streams to share these events with all.

Watch on YouTube!

RMO In-Person Programs (Currently suspended due to Covid-19)

Join us for a “behind the scenes” Observatory facility tour Tuesdays through Saturdays at 3pm. No registration is necessary, simply meet in the Library Lobby where a member of the Observatory Team will greet you. This tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and includes indoor and outdoor aspects with minimal seating available.

Connecting Children to the Stars is a field trip opportunity providing 5th grade Coachella Valley schoolchildren – both public and private – a visit to the Rancho Mirage Observatory made possible through a grant from the Anderson Children’s Foundation.

The Goals of the program include:

  • Provide a tour and astronomy program for 5th grade Coachella Valley students.
  • Demonstrate the operation of a state-of-the-art observatory telescope under the guidance of a professional astronomer.
  • Provide an “away from classroom” experience in an elegant, sophisticated, and unique learning environment.
  • Encourage student imagination, awe, connection, and curiosity within the Universe.

Please join us at the Observatory to gaze at the sky and peer through our telescopes! Each stargazing program is different depending on what opportunities present themselves in the night sky, but generally the program consists of an introduction to the Observatory with City Astronomer Eric McLaughlin, Observatory Coordinator Lauren Zuckerberg, or a trained docent; the opportunity to see several objects in space through our Celestron 9.25″ telescopes on the deck; and the opportunity to view one or more objects through the large PlaneWave Instruments CDK700 telescope in the Observatory dome. Guests are provided information and are encouraged to ask questions throughout the program. The program lasts approximately 90 minutes and in favorable viewing conditions, this event is entirely outdoors. All ages are welcome. Pre-registration online is required. Sign up for our newsletter here to get notified of future programs.

Bad Weather Policy: In the event of unsuitable weather conditions that prohibit the use of telescopes for this event, we will tour the Universe with the Observatory’s Integrated Space Theater under a closed dome. Unsuitable weather conditions include but are not limited to cloud cover, precipitation, high winds, ash, and force majeure. The Integrated Space Theater tour entails a simulated journey to the astronomical objects originally planned to be viewed with telescopes, a constellation tour, and other fascinating corners of the Universe, as viewed from inside the Observatory, projected onto the inside of a dome.

Our family stargazing programs are earlier in the evening and a bit shorter so they wrap up well before bedtime! We offer these additional programs before our regular stargazing nights when Daylight Saving Time is not being observed from early November through early March. The family stargazing program follows the same format as our regular stargazing programs but may not include the same level of detail. All ages are welcome.

Each stargazing program is different depending on what opportunities present themselves in the night sky, but generally the program consists of an introduction to the Observatory with City Astronomer Eric McLaughlin, Observatory Coordinator Lauren Zuckerberg, or a trained docent; the opportunity to see several objects in space through our Celestron 9.25″ telescopes on the deck; and the opportunity to view one or more objects through the large PlaneWave Instruments CDK700 telescope in the Observatory dome. Guests are provided information and are encouraged to ask questions throughout the program. The program lasts approximately 90 minutes and in favorable viewing conditions, this event is entirely outdoors. All ages are welcome. Pre-registration online is required. Sign up for our newsletter at here to get notified of future programs.

Bad Weather Policy: In the event of unsuitable weather conditions that prohibit the use of telescopes for this event, we will tour the Universe with the Observatory’s Integrated Space Theater under a closed dome. Unsuitable weather conditions include but are not limited to cloud cover, precipitation, high winds, ash, and force majeure. The Integrated Space Theater tour entails a simulated journey to the astronomical objects originally planned to be viewed with telescopes, a constellation tour, and other fascinating corners of the Universe, as viewed from inside the Observatory, projected onto the inside of a dome.

Please join us once a month to view the Moon in its first quarter phase. We’ll meet just after sunset to explore volcanic features and impact craters, reminisce about historical visits and look forward to future missions to the Moon. This is also a prime time to view the terminator – where light meets dark. Everyone is welcome and no registration is necessary for this self-guided, open house style event.

Bad Weather Policy: In the event of unsuitable weather conditions that prohibit the use of telescopes for this event, we will cancel for the month. Unsuitable weather conditions include but are not limited to cloud cover, precipitation, high winds, ash, and force majeure.

Please join us in the Community Room for periodic astronomy lectures. City Astronomer Eric McLaughlin or a special guest will take you away to uncover the secrets of the Universe in these approximately 50-minute long presentations, leaving plenty of time for questions at the end.

“We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics.”

Katherine Johnson (1918 – 2020), NASA Mathematician