The Museum and Sea Center are closed until it is safe to reopen, but we are working hard on our summer Butterflies Alive! exhibit and look forward to welcoming you soon!

Observatory

Ended March 20

The Museum’s Doris Faye Palmer Observatory opened on August 1, 1968. In 2013, a 14-foot 6-inch, 2,250-pound re-purposed Ash-Dome was donated to replace the Observatory roof. That same year, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN) donated a 20-inch RCOS Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope and PlaneWave mounting system. The Ash-Dome was installed on August 12, 2015 and features a telescope-viewing opening that rotates a full 360 degrees.

Star Parties

On the second Saturday of each month from dusk to 10:00 PM, the Palmer Observatory hosts a Star Party organized by the Museum and the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit. This free event welcomes the public to view and learn about the night sky using both traditional telescopes and the 20-inch telescope in the Observatory. 

Star Parties in 2020

Begins at dusk, start times listed below. Subject to change.

  • January 11 – 7:00 PM
  • February 8 – 7:00 PM
  • March 14 – 7:30 PM
  • (CanceledTBD)
  • May 9 – 8:00 PM
  • June 13 – 8:30 PM
  • July 11 – 8:30 PM
  • August 8 – 8:00 PM
  • September 12 – 8:00 PM
  • October 10 – 7:30 PM
  • November 14 – 7:00 PM
  • December 12 – 7:00 PM