Rancho Mirage CA

ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY LYNNE TUCKER

The City of Rancho Mirage Observatory, which officially opened on March 25, 2018, is a teaching and learning tool for all ages, intended to further public understanding of their night skies while offering new programming opportunities in astronomy. The Observatory plays an integral role in the growth of the Rancho Mirage Library’s campus. Constructed adjacent to the Library’s western entrance, the addition of this research level facility underscores the Library’s commitment to lifelong learning, education for all ages, and a focus on the sciences. In addition to onsite tours, telescope viewing and group stargazing with individually owned telescopes, the Observatory will be able to transmit images into locations within the Library, creating limitless possibilities for educational programming and activities for all ages and levels of expertise.

Inside the dome is a PlaneWave CDK700 Telescope. This project was coordinated by the City of Rancho Mirage along with the contractor Sea West Enterprises. Observatory Systems was brought on to the project by Sea West Enterprises, Inc to automate the ASH Manufacturing Dome and provide the design and installation of the observing automation system. This includes the installation of the weather systems, computing systems, and automation of the PlaneWave Instruments CDK700 telescope. Observatory Systems designed the layout of the Cosmic Office where users will interact with the information from and control the telescope.

EVENTS

OBSERVATORY TOURS

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There will be one tour daily at 9:30 am Mondays through Fridays that begins in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration required. However, as we reopen, we are limiting the number of guests per tour to about 20 people.

STARGAZING REGISTRATION

  • Registration is required to attend a stargazing event. Please see the dates of events and registration dates on their website.
  • You do not need a library card to register.
  • Online registration opens 1 week in advance of the first night of stargazing for each group of events.
  • Rancho Mirage residents and donor cardholders can register in person at the Library Information Desk 1 week before online registration opens (2 weeks in advance of the first night of stargazing for each group of events.)
  • Spaces for stargazing programs fill up quickly. They suggest being online to reserve your space as soon as a new group of events opens.
  • All stargazing events are subject to change, cancellation, or postponement.

Think out of this world and visit this hidden gem in the Coachella Valley. A must see!