Starry Nights

We strongly recommend that you follow us on Twitter @sfu_science to get the most up to date information on the status of Star Parties.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the July 24th Virtual Starry Nights to watch the comet NEOWISE! 


If you were unable to attend, or would like to watch the sky again, visit this link:


Congratulations to everyone who earned their free telescope! If you want to know more about how you can get one, please visit our Free Telescope Program page here:


If you have any feedback for Starry Nights, please take our short online evaluation:


Watch this page or follow us on Twitter @SFU_Science for our next virtual event!


While we are unable to provide Star Gazing sessions at this time, here are a couple of online resources that we recommend.

For people who want to know what there is to see in the current night sky by eye, there is a weekly series of on-line videos called Star Gazers, of very high quality, intended for the general public:

Sky&Telescope has excellent on-line weekly guide to the sky that serves a similar purpose as Star Gazers (though for reading, not video), good for general audience, but also for beginning amateur astronomers:

Our evening star parties are free and open to the public and equipment or knowledge of astronomy are not necessary.

At our evening star parties you will discover the many wondrous celestial objects that can be seen by the naked eye including; our cratered Moon, distant stars of beautiful colours, constellations that tell of ancient lore, and planets in our solar system that hold important lessons for life on Earth, and elsewhere in the cosmos.

If you have your own binoculars or a telescope, bring it with you. We’ll help you learn about your equipment and show you around the night sky. If you’re an experienced astronomer, share your knowledge and passion for astronomy with budding astronomers.

Star parties are usually held about once a month, but we can't schedule these gatherings in advance, since good weather is important for star gazing. A tentative starry-night gathering is generally announced early on a day in which the weather forecast for that night looks promising.  

We usually meet about an hour after sunset by the Trottier Observatory and Science Courtyard.

A tentatively scheduled gathering is subject to cancellation late that day, depending on how the weather develops. Final confirmation that we are "good to go", or not, will generally arrive by email around 4-5 pm the day of the tentative event.  

To obtain the most up-to-date information on whether a Star Party will go ahead or not, please follow us on Twitter @sfutrottobs.

For a campus map with parking and directions, click here.

Observatory House Rules

  • Admittance to the observatory is free to the general public (children are welcome). 
  • We make no guarantee that everyone who comes to Starry Nights will get inside the observatory. We ask for your patience and understanding as we make every effort to accommodate as many people as we can.
  • Once you have looked through the telescope, please make your way back outside so that another guest can have a turn.
  • Flash photography is not permitted inside the observatory.
  • Food and drink is not permitted inside the observatory.
  • SFU is not responsible for the supervision of children at public events. Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Please do not touch the telescope - despite its size, it is a sensitive piece of equipment!

Starry Night Etiquette

  • Our operation is run by dedicated volunteers who give generously of their time: they include SFU students, staff, and faculty, and amateur astronomers from the Vancouver Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Please be sure to thank them!
  • Although the observatory may seem to newcomers like the only reason to be at our star nights, our experienced guests know that they will find breathtaking views of many different celestial treasures through our volunteers' portable telescopes, and that half the fun is to have their questions about the universe answered by our friendly and knowledgeable amateur astronomers.
  • Please be sure to take advantage of the portable telescopes set up outside the observatory: these telescopes are the personal property of the experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly amateur astronomers who bring their equipment to campus to share views of breathtaking celestial treasures with our guests.
  • These events may be photographed and/or video recorded by Simon Fraser University for archival, educational and related promotional purposes. By attending or participating in these events, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded. If you do not wish to be photographed and/or video recorded, please let us know and move to the side prior to the shoot.
  • SFU is not responsible for the supervision of minors at public events. Minors should be accompanied by an adult at all times.