The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory Picture Gallery

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory Picture Gallery

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) is located near Priddis, Alberta in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Located about 50km southwest of the University of Calgary campus, the RAO houses several research grade instruments.
The RAO is operated by the Department of Physics & Astronomy of the University of Calgary. T. A. Clark (Prof. Emeritus) & E. F. Milone (Prof.) had been Co-Directors since 1975. In October, 2003, Dr. Clark became Director Emeritus, and Milone became sole director; Rene Plume assumed the role of Associate Director, with special responsibility for outreach. In Sept. 2004, Milone became Director Emeritus, and Plume, Acting Director. Plume also chaired the Science Awareness and Promotion Visitor Centre upgrade committee. Currently, Philip Langill is the director.

Built in 1972, the 16" Cassegrain was the first telescope to be used at the site. In the early 1980's work was initiated on the 1.80m A. R. (Sandy) Cross Telescope or ARCT (formerly the `Infrared Telescope' or IRT).

Fred Babott installing the Columbia CCD camera in the rotator mount on the main port of the ARCT Cassegrain focus, early 1996:

The ARCT telescope tube with the 1.8-m mirror cell installed:

The ARCT is housed in a separate building, which also contains a Patrol Camera.

For a view of the sky through the ARCT dome, taken by Roland Duchesne in June, 1996, click here: JPEG image

For more information, see RAO Details .

Click here for a map to guide you to the observatory.

Telescope Info

Other Facilities at RAO

  • A Minnaert-type observing terrace with the capacity for 17 student telescopes which are used in undergraduate astronomy classes.
  • A 2 storey balloon telescope preparation facility, with easy access to the outside for payload testing purposes.
  • Classroom, Laboratories, workshop, kitchen, shower, & and sleeping facilities.

Images of comets taken by Mike Mazur, Phil Langill & others with the CCD camera:

  • Comet Hyakutake with the 41-cm telescope (Mike Mazur)

  • Comet Hale-Bopp V image taken with a CCD camera on the ARCT, Feb 1, 1997 (Phil Langill)

  • Comet Hale-Bopp B image taken with the ARCT, Feb 1, 1997. The CCD has 9-micron pixels (Phil Langill).

  • Comet Hale-Bopp B 6-minute exposure taken with a C-8, at 0700 UT, Mar. 24, 1997. (Phil Langill).

Now for something completely different. Here is a view of the crowded Open House on August 25, 2001 just before a talk on ancient astronomy (picture, courtesy of Steve Torchinsky):

The classroom, capable of accommodating 30 people, is clearly filled to overflowing for this event.

Other RAO/University of Calgary Links:

Number of visitors to this site to date: times since 16 May 1998.

These pages were developed by Mike Mazur and are currently maintained by Gene Milone. Any comments or suggestions can be mailed to milone at

All photos within these pages courtesy of F.M. Babbott & other members of the RAO Support Group.

All material (including, but not limited to, photos, images, abstracts and papers) located in these pages is under copyright, to their respective authors.