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Observatories

Explore the Skies at the Chabot Observatories

Chabot’s three large historic telescopes offer a unique way to experience the awe and wonder of the Universe. Our observatory deck offers breathtaking views 1,500 feet above the Bay.

The observatories at Chabot Space & Science Center are located 37.819 degrees North latitude and 122.182 degrees West longitude.

Free Telescope Viewings

Every Friday and Saturday Night, weather permitting
Chabot Observatory Deck
7:30-10:30 p.m.

Join Chabot astronomers on the Observatory Deck for a free telescope viewing! Weather permitting, this is a chance to explore stars, planets and more through Chabot’s historic telescopes. 

Learn more>>

Virtual Telescope Viewings

Third Thursday of the month
9 p.m.
Watch on Facebook and YouTube

Join Chabot’s resident astronomers virtually on the second Thursday of each month! Our astronomers will guide us through spectacular night sky viewing through Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope. Weather permitting, we will be able to view objects live through the telescopes and astronomers will be available for an open forum for all of your most pressing astronomy questions.

Watch past Virtual Telescope Viewing recordings on Facebook and YouTube.

About Chabot’s Telescopes

Chabot’s houses three telescopes on its observatory deck. Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope, is a 36 inch reflector telescope, housed in a rolling roof observatory that allows access to 180 degrees of sky. This modern, research-quality telescope offers breathtaking views of the cosmos.

The impressive 20 inch telescope, named Rachel, is the largest refractor in the western United States regularly open to the public. Its companion, the 8 inch Alvan Clark refractor, named Leah, is the original 1883 instrument donated by founder Anthony Chabot.

Leah

Chabot’s historic 8″ Alvan Clark refractor telescope is the original 1883 instrument donated by founder Anthony Chabot.

In 1883, Anthony Chabot, a successful hydraulic engineer and provider of water to the City of Oakland, agreed to fund an 8-inch telescope. Mr. Chabot subsequently funded the new observatory as well, which opened in downtown Oakland on November 24th of the same year.

Rachel

Chabot’s historic 20″ Warner and Swasey refracting telescope, installed at Chabot Observatory in 1915, was commissioned in 1914 from Warner & Swasey, with optics by John Brashear. This telescope was named “Rachel.” In June 1999, Rachel was removed from the site where she had served the public for 75 years. Extensive dismantling, cleaning, and refurbishment were performed. Early in 2000, Rachel was installed in her new dome at the new Chabot Space & Science Center.

Nellie

Chabot’s new 36” reflector, “Nellie,” is housed in a rolling roof observatory, allowing access to 180 degrees of sky. This modern, research-quality telescope offers breathtaking views of the cosmos.