When is the facility open?

Lookout Observatory opened its doors to the public for the first time November 14, 2014. Public events will continue to be scheduled. Registration is required to attend. To do so, please fill out the Lookout Observatory Registration Form online.

Why is this facility needed?

The facility provides students of all ages and the public hands-on experience with telescopes and related state-of-the-art instrumentation, and the experience of first-hand observations, for which there is no substitute. The new facility also provides a laboratory for astronomical research and students with research experience.

How can the community access the Observatory?

UNC Asheville Physics Department faculty members work with K-12 teachers to coordinate trips to the facility by school classes and groups, as well as online access to remote viewing sessions. The Astronomy Club of Asheville offers its members access to the facility on a regular basis; membership in the Club is $25 annually for individuals and $30 for families. UNC Asheville also will host periodic no-cost guided star-gazing sessions for the public. Check the Public Access webpage for information about our next event.

Parking at the observatory is limited to faculty conducting research and users requiring handicap access. Classes and programs using the facility will use existing campus parking; students and guests will be transported to and from the site by campus shuttle. Nut Hill Road will remain gated and closed to other traffic.

Where did funding for this project come from?

Lookout Observatory, which includes a retractable roof that opens to facilitate observations via mounted, computer-controlled telescopes, was built with a $546,000 donation from the Astronomy Club of Asheville. The club also provided one of the two 14-inch telescopes; the university already owned the second telescope. UNC Asheville is responsible for costs of ongoing maintenance of all academic buildings on our campus, including the observatory.

Is there public access to the hiking trails on the property?

University neighbors are welcome to use all the hiking trails around Lookout.

Where can I ask more questions?

If you have further questions, you may email lookout@unca.edu or call the observatory at 828.250.3958.