Tate Dome

Public Telescope Viewing

Join us every Friday night (check the schedule below) for rooftop observing through our historic telescope in the dome of the John T. Tate Hall. There will be a presentation followed by outdoor observing (weather-permitting). You will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, we provide free star maps (e.g. www.skymaps.com) and are happy to show visitors how to use them. Throughout the evening, we encourage questions from the audience and enjoy discussing topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.

The presentation begins at 8:00pm in the Tate Laboratory of Physics, room 101. Telescope observing usually begins around 8:25-8:30pm upstairs in Tate 510.

The presentation and outdoor observing are free for all to attend!

Sign up for the MIfA outreach email


The presentation portion of each event will be held in John T. Tate Hall, 101.


Often, girl scout troops and various other groups enjoy attending our public viewing nights. If you would like to bring a large group (more than 15) to public viewing or if you wish to request a separate presentation for your group, contact our Public Outreach Coordinator at least three weeks prior to the desired observing session.

Accessibility and Parking

John T. Tate Hall is accessible via a ramp at the Church St Entrance. Closest parking ramp is Church Street Garage. Fees are listed on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions   


The public viewing is scheduled every Friday during the University's Fall and Spring semesters. A presentation will be given at each event regardless of the weather, so we will always have something for you. Observing will follow the presentation if the weather is acceptable (clear with wind chill above -15° F, see the FAQs above for additional details). For more questions please email the outreach coordinator at

The presentation begins at 8:00pm in the Tate Laboratory of Physics, room 101. After the presentation, we move up to Tate 510 where we can access the telescopes on the roof deck and the historic 10.5" refractor in the dome. Telescope observing usually begins around 8:30pm.

Date MIfA Staff On-site Contact Topic
2/01/2019 Jamie Cheshire, Nathan Eggen

The First Three Minutes
2/08/2019 Nathan Eggen, Jin-Ah Kim
The Future of the Universe
2/15/2019 Jin-Ah Kim, Nico Adams
2/22/2019 Darcy Ballantyne, Grant Hall
Saturn and its Rings
3/01/2019 Jamie Cheshire, Mike Makmur Pulsar Timing Arrays
3/08/2019 Nico Adams, Grant Hall
Gravitational Waves
3/15/2019 Jamie Cheshire, Sarah O'Brien
The Cosmic Distance Ladder and the Hubble Constant
3/22/2019 No Public Observations - Spring Break
3/29/2019 Grant Hall, Jenna Burgett
4/05/2019 Darcy Ballentyne, Jordan Bartlett
4/12/2019 CANCELED due to the weather
4/19/2019 Jordan Bartlett, Gwen Elledge
Opportunity Rover
4/26/2019 Kaitlin Ehret, Jordan Bartlett The Coolest, Hottest Probe to Touch the Sun: Parker Solar Probe
5/03/2019 Kaitlin Ehret, Nico Adams Black Holes

About the Program

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics is dedicated to bringing the excitement of modern astrophysical research to the Minnesota public.

Throughout the year, we host numerous programs including our Universe in the Park series, Friday night observing sessions with our on-campus telescope, and school and group presentations.

MIfA hopes to share its passion of astronomy through our series of scheduled public viewings. Please join us in observing some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history.

Contact Information

MN Institute for Astrophysics

University of Minnesota
John T. Tate Hall, 116 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455

P: (612) 624-4811

E: MIfA@umn.edu

© 2016 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement Current as of