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Mees Observatory

Mees Observatory

Welcome to the Mees Observatory Page

July 20h Update: Mees Observatory summer tours are in full swing, with 6 tours left in our season. While we always hope to be able to do observing in the 24" telescope, the clouds (and even rain) have impacted the last several tours. Here's hoping it's clear skies from here on out! See the schedule of tours, below. At this point in our summer, almost all tours are fully booked. However, we maintain "waitlists" for all tours, and the chances are that at least some (and perhaps all) of those on the waitlist for a tour will be invited to attend when we learn of cancellations. So please do contact us to be added to any of the waitlists. The process for making reservations has changed for 2014. You can make a reservation by emailing tours director Carol Latta (; be sure to include your full name, address, number of people in your group (and group name if applicable), at least one phone number where we can reach you in the week preceding and day of the tour, any comments, and email address we should use to contact you (if it differs from the one you use to request your reservation). You will receive email confirmation back.

See the general information below about the tours. Be sure to note that some tours are designated "kids' tours". Those offer a special program geared to our younger visitors, asking them to solve some challenges. The format for the Regular Tours (primarily designed for adult visitors but kids are welcome, of course) offers more presentation and discussion, but fewer challenges. The climax of every tour is (we hope!) viewing of several of the skies most interesting objects in the 24" reflecting telescope.

As always we will host a small number of groups and a much greater number of families and individuals, so that this opportunity is offered as broadly as possible across the local community. Groups larger than 8 require special permission, and are required to reconfirm the number attending one week prior to the tour.  

This Summer's remaining tour schedule is as follows, with reservation status as of July 20:

Fri 25-Jul Regular tour - fully booked, no waitlist
Sat 26-Jul Regular tour - fully booked, 2 on the waitlist
Sat 2-Aug Kids tour - room for 9 more
Fri 15-Aug Regular tour - fully booked, with 6 on the waitlist

Fri  16-Aug Kids tour - room for 5 more

General Information about tours:
University of Rochester Department of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to offer free tours for the public at Mees Observatory in the Bristol Hills on selected Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer months. All tours are held regardless of sky conditions, and begin at 8PM at Gannett House on the observatory grounds. After getting acquainted, we'll present a talk on astronomy in general and on what we may be observing later in the evening. If weather and skies permit, we'll proceed to the observatory dome and operate the 24" reflecting telescope to observe the Moon, Saturn, double stars, nebulae, star clusters, and maybe even a galaxy or two. Tours typically end around 11PM (if observing is possible) or whenever our guests have had their fill of photons. A special version of the tours, appropriate for kids, is offered on some evenings, and these are indicated as such on the tours calendar.

Tour guides are physics/astronomy students and members of Rochester's astronomy club, the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science.

For driving directions using Mapquest or a similar site, use this address: CE Kenneth Mees Observatory, 6604 S. Gannett Rd, Naples, NY 14512.

There are many other opportunities to do astronomical observing in the Rochester area. Rochester's astronomy club, The Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science (ASRAS), offers free public star parties in all but the coldest months; these are usually held at Mendon and Northampton Parks. ASRAS members also operate the telescope at Strasenburgh Planetarium's observatory on nearly all clear Saturday evenings, year round. Monthly Open Houses at the Farash Center for Observational Astronomy in Ionia offer yet more opportunities for exploring the various observatories and looking through a variety of telescopes. Join us for any of these free events. To learn more about these and other opportunities, go to

For more information, contact the Mees Observatory Tours Director, Carol Latta

at or cell phone 585-230-9548.

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