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.

2014 Dates Time Event Location
Saturday, September 6 7:30-9:30 p.m. Open Observing Observatory
Saturday, September 20 7:30-9:30 p.m. Open Observing Observatory
Saturday, October 4 7:30-9:30 p.m. Open Observing Observatory
Saturday, October 18 7:30-9:30 p.m. Open Observing Observatory
Thursday, October 23 4:00-6:00 p.m. Partial Solar Eclipse Observatory
Saturday, November 1 7:30-9:30 p.m. Open Observing Observatory
Saturday, November 15 7:30-9:30 p.m. Last session until March 2015 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, Astronaut, Astronomer and Henize ship.m.ate dedicated the building in his honor. Learn more.

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 Cosmic Explorer program allows children in grades 3 to 6 to experience the discovery of the night sky at Henize Observatory on the Harper College campus.

Cosmic Explorers attend three to four observation sessions throughout the school year, learn to locate stars and constellations, and observe deep sky wonders through telescopes at the observatory.  As explorers complete their Night Sky Passport, they can earn NASA materials. Those who successfully complete their Passport for the year will attend a recognition reception at Harper College.

The school in the Harper College district that enrolls the most students in the Cosmic Explorer program (25 min/school) can win a Star Party for their school, hosted by Harper College faculty.

Cosmic Explorer Enrollment Form .PDF

Cosmic Explorer Information for Parents and Teachers .PDF

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 Info and Application .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.