South Physics Observatory
University of Utah Department of Physics and Astronomy

Observatory Status

OBSERVATORY STATUS: Due to precautions from the U regarding COVID-19, we are canceling all star parties and outreach activities for the next few weeks. Please check back for updates.


Updated: 6:00pm 3/11/20

We are open to the public Wednesday nights for observing when the weather is clear, and physics demos and talks when it's not. Our opening times vary throughout the year due to changing times of sunset, check the calendar at the bottom of the page for current opening times. Call 58-SPACE (587-7223) after 7:00pm on Wednesdays to verify opening status (not available outside of these times), email observatory@physics.utah.edu or message us on Facebook. Any questions regarding tours, events, and star parties should refer to this email.

Be sure to check out our facebook page! See updates for new events with the department and special openings of the observatory! Click the "like" button on the right side of this page just above the pictures of space awesomeness.

Observatory and Celestial Event Calendar

The South Physics Observatory located at the University of Utah offers FREE public star parties on CLEAR Wednesday nights. These are open to all ages, interests and groups. We open at various times through the year corresponding to changing sunset times so please check the web page for current scheduled openings. During the visit, expect to see galaxies, nebulae, stars, moons, planets, and clusters. Feel free to ask questions about the universe, science, and what you're seeing. We may also offer lectures, demos, and special events during the star parties.

The events are outdoors so please dress appropriately for weather. We also try to open during important astronomical events so be sure to watch for the next lunar/solar eclipse, Mercury transit, or bright comet.

SPO can also offer assistance for those looking to learn to use telescopes for personal use, astrophotography, or for school/science fair projects. If you're looking to purchase a telescope and need help with all the choices, or if you're having trouble setting yours up, bring them to us and we may be able to help. Also, after a few hours of training, you'll be able to use the telescopes and cameras at your leisure at SPO (with assistance).

Stop by the Utah Museum of Natural History Museum of Utah on their free days. The Phun With Physics program being held will show you some great physics demonstrations.

New Stuff

Come check out our new meteorite display!! We'll have it out for viewing during our normal star party times on Wednesdays.

Check out the photo of the supernova in M82 taken from SPO on 1/24/14. Image is on the pane to the right.

Click HERE for a gif movie of the eclipse from our Willard Eccles Observatory.

Click here for a gif movie of the eclipse from Bryce Canyon.

Newest images from WEO as of 9-19-10 are here.

Check out the videos taken from the Willard L. Eccles Observatory with the Leonid bolide streaking across Utah here.

Current Sky and Astronomy Info



This is where you can find information about when and where the International Space Station will be visible flying overhead.

Current Weather

Live Infrared Satellite Provided by Intellicast.com

Current Pacific Weather Current Pacific Weather
Current Weather

Clear Sky Chart for Salt Lake City


Sky and Telescope Magazine


Sky and Telescope online keeps you updated on new astronomy findings as well as having great observational tools for the amateur like Jupiter's and Saturn's moons positions.


Have an astronomy related question? Click here to ask an astronomer!

Information about our Universe

Our Sun




Solar System Objects








Star Clusters




The Universe and Beyond



Recent SPO Images

Sept. 27 Super Blood Moon EclipseSept. 27 Super Blood Moon Eclipse
Sept. 27 Super Blood Moon Eclipse

Veil NebulaVeil Nebula Taken 9-7-15
Veil Nebula Taken 9-7-15

Dumbell BWDumbell in Black and White Taken 8-31-15
Dumbbell in Black and White Taken 8-31-15

Dumbell in Color Taken 8-31-15
Dumbbell in Color Taken 8-31-15

Jupiter and Venus conjunction June 30, 2015

Lunar Eclipse 4-4-15

Asteroid 2004 BL86 long exposure

Comet Lovejoy

Cellphone Moon

Triple Shadow transit and a moon of Jupiter

Jupiter Shadow Transit 1-24-15

Lunar Eclipse 10-8-14

Planetary Nebula M97, The Owl Nebula 5-1-14

Spiral Galaxy M99 5-1-14

Galaxies NGC3169, NGC3166, & NGC3165 4-23-14

The Orion Nebula 3-24-14

Lunar Eclipse 4-15-14

Pie Day Sol in H-Alpha

Supernova in M82

M16 Eagle Nebula



M57 Ring Nebula

M20 Trifid Nebula

M27 Dumbbell Nebula

Cell phone Saturn


Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah
201 JFB • 115 south 1400 east, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830
Phone (801) 581-6901 • Fax (801) 581-4801
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