Karl G. Henize Observatory

Drop by, look through a telescope, and prepare to be awed.

Free Community Viewing Sessions

Experience the wonder of the universe and the excitement of discovery. Not only can you observe objects near and far, but volunteers provide interpretation of what you're seeing. Observatory events are free and open to the community.

2021 Dates

Closed until further notice due to COVID-19  

About the Observatory

In 2000, the Observatory was officially named in honor of Karl G. Henize because of his accomplishments as an astronomer and for his dedication to fulfilling his dream of reaching space. His name on the observatory will serve as an inspiration to the youth of today and tomorrow. Dr. Loren W. Acton, Astronomer and Henize's former crewmate dedicated the building in his honor.

The main telescope is a Meade 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT) on an Astrophysics 1200GTO mount. This allows Harper faculty to do research grade work in the Henize Observatory.

The Henize Observatory Student Docent Program is a unique, service based learning opportunity at Harper College. Those selected for the Student Docent Program can:

  • Learn to operate telescopes
  • Assist with hands-on learning activities
  • Learn about the universe and share that knowledge with students and adults Help create multimedia educational materials
  • Meet other students interested in science
  • Fulfill community service requirements for your school A unique experience for college applications

Student Docent Application (.pdf)

Student Docent Program Info (.pdf)

  • Admission is free, however we ask that you please sign in.
  • Plan on staying about an hour. There are often lines for our telescopes. 
  • Visitors climb a 7-foot tall ladder to reach our main telescope. We also operate several telescopes at ground level.
  • Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes. You may be standing in lines and climbing a ladder.
  • Dress for the weather. The observatory is not heated and it can get chilly at night.
  • There are no restrooms or water fountains at the observatory.
  • We can't see anything if it is cloudy, but we may stay open just in case it clears up.
  • The observatory will not be open in rain or inclement weather.
Last Updated: 8/19/21