Physics and Astronomy at

Astronomy programs College

Colleges / February 28, 2024

Operated by the Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS), the Foothill College Observatory offers weekly public programs that allow the public to view the wonders of the universe. The observatory houses a 16-inch computer-controlled Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.

PAS Programs at the Foothill College Observatory

Programs are free of charge to visitors of all ages. The observatory is closed when it is cloudy.
  • Friday Evening Public Viewing: 9 – 11 p.m.
    Every clear Friday. The choice of targets for any evening's viewing depends on the season and what objects are currently in the sky.
  • Saturday Solar Viewing: 10 a.m. – Noon
    Every clear Saturday. See spectacular views of two different layers of the sun through white-light and hydrogen-alpha 0.6 Angstrom filters.
  • Special Public Viewings of Astronomical Events
    Scheduled viewing programs. These viewings are scheduled during events of particular astronomical interest, such as eclipses, bright comets, supernovae, etc.

Skies May be Cloudy or Sunny

How can you tell if the sky above the observatory will be cloudy or clear when you plan to attend a viewing? Consult the Foothill Observatory Clear Sky Chart Foothill Observatory Clear Sky Chart Click on the chart image. This will take you to the chart legend page where you can learn how to interpret the chart and view full maps of the forecasted weather conditions. Or, go to the PAS webcam site, to find out if the observatory is open and what the weather is like.

Observatory Location

Travel Highway 280 to the El Monte Road exit. The observatory is located adjacent to Parking Lot 4 and the Krause Center for Innovation (Bldg. 4000) on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. (see map) Visitors must purchase required parking permit for $3 from dispensers in any student lot. Dispensers accept one-dollar bills and quarters; bring exact change. Citations are issued.