About Observatory Programs
Rancho Mirage Observatory In-Person Programs
Join us for a “behind the scenes” Observatory facility tour Mondays through Fridays at 3:00 pm. No registration is necessary, simply meet in the Library Lobby where a member of the Observatory Team will greet you. This tour lasts approximately 30 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.
If your class is interested in participating, please contact our Children’s Librarian.
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.
Rancho Mirage Observatory 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.
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.
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!
“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