After coming to terms with the fact that there were no more episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey to watch on Netflix, Leslie and I were inspired to go star gazing. But where? After some research, I found that exploring the cosmos didn’t have to be a far away journey. Every Wednesday night while University of Oklahoma (OU) is in session, the Physics and Astronomy department hosts public star parties on the roof of their observatory. The star parties have several telescopes with each one set up to view a binary star, nebula, planet, or star cluster.
While the staff of the star parties will admit Norman isn’t the most ideal place to view the cosmos due to the brightness of the city, in my opinion, what I was able to see was still beautiful. The staff was kind and willing to answer questions from anyone. The star party was a fun and educational experience. I would also recommend it for a cheap date night activity.
To find the OU Observatory, head south on Asp Avenue from Lindsey Avenue. Look for the building with the white dome on top on the east side of Asp Avenue. To reach the roof, climb the exterior staircase on the West side of the building and please note the observatory roof is currently wheelchair inaccessible. The staircase is the only way to reach the roof. All ages are welcome, however, they ask that younger children be under adult supervision at all times.
Because viewing times change throughout the year, visit the OU Star Party site for current observing times, parking information, and weather cancellations.