Gustav Bakos Observatory

Observatory guide Robbie Henderson views the stars through the telescopeThe Gustav Bakos Observatory, named in honour of the first astronomer at the University of Waterloo, houses a twelve-inch telescope, which is located on the roof of the Physics building. The observatory has been in operation since 1967. The telescope has been used for research on visual binary stars and for undergraduate student assignments.

Public tours

Free tours for the public have been conducted at the Gustav Bakos Observatory for over ten years. These tours include monthly public tours; scheduled tours for groups such as girl guides, boy scouts, and elementary and high school classes; and tours for viewing special events such as eclipses and comets.

The Observatory is open for public tours usually on the first Wednesday of each month, offering a chance to look through the university's telescope. This will be preceded by a short talk on astronomy (around 30 minutes) plus an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a tour of the dome. In the event of bad weather, the observing will not be possible, but the talk and tour of facilities will go ahead. [No optical telescope on Earth can see through cloud - if it's too cloudy to see stars with the unaided eye (or the Sun earlier in the day), then we won't be able to see stars through the telescope.]

Please meet in room 150 of the Physics building for the talk at the times listed below.

Everybody is welcome. There is no need to book in advance for the public tour and it is free of charge (but note that some of the parking lots are coin entry).

During special events of astronomical interest, additional tours may be scheduled and will be announced here approximately one month in advance.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a private tour for your group, you may send an email to the observatory coordinator at

See the schedule of upcoming public tours

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Will it be clear tonight? Astronomical forecast