Viewing Night on the 36-inch Research Telescope

Dedicated in 1956, the 36-inch Telescope near the top of Mt. Locke remains a powerful window on the universe. Its long focus allows for awesome views of the planets as well as excellent, high contrast views of deep space objects like globular clusters, planetary nebulae, and galaxies. Join us for a 36-inch Special Viewing Night and we're sure you'll agree!

Please note that the 36-inch dome is NOT wheelchair accessible. This program involves the use of a step ladder and takes place in a space with low levels of illumination. The program duration is 3 to 3.5 hours. The fee is $75 per person.  

The 36" Telescope is located near the summit of Mt. Locke, participants park their vehicles at the Visitor Center and are shuttled to the summit and return at the end of the program. It is NOT possible to participate in both a Star Party and a Special Viewing Night program on the same night.

Before you sign up, be sure to check out our remote location.


Waiting lists are available via our reservation system (see below). However, cancellations are rare for our Special Viewing Nights so you may be better off planning for a different date than waiting for a cancellation on an already sold out program. Adding a waiting list request for other dates will not result in a program being added for those dates. Dates for our Special Viewing Night programs are posted according to the research needs for which these telescopes were built. The research schedules are posted in late February/early March for the April - July period, late June/early July for the August - November period, and late October/early November for the December - March period. Our Special Viewing Night programs are typically posted roughly 1-2 weeks after that.

The 0.9-meter (36-inch) Telescope at McDonald Observatory. Credit: Kevin Mace/Mc

0.9-meter (36-inch) Telescope, Dome