Foothill Observatory Remains CLOSED to All Visitors

Following guidance from the Santa Clara County Health Officer and Foothill College, PAS is extending the suspension of our Friday and Saturday public viewing sessions at Foothill Observatory for the foreseeable future. We will be able to resume operations once Foothill College reopens the campus. Please check back here periodically for the latest status, or follow us on Twitter at @pastronimocal for updates. (Updated February 2021.)

Foothill Observatory Building

Foothill Observatory

Located on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, Foothill College is operated by the Peninsula Astronomical Society, and offers weekly public astronomy programs on Fridays and Saturdays. The observatory is staffed by knowledgeable PAS members who volunteer to conduct these popular weekly events.

Public events are free of charge, and are open to visitors of all ages. However, please note that the observatory is closed when it is cloudy.

Foothill Friday Evening Program

Every clear Friday evening from 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Visitors can view the wonders of the universe through the observatory’s computer-controlled 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Views of objects in our solar system may include craters and mountains on the moon, the moons and cloud-bands of Jupiter, or the rings of Saturn!

The choice of targets for any evening’s viewing depends on the season and what objects are currently in the sky. On clear, dark, moonless nights, the telescopes give visitors views into the deeper reaches of space. Star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies provide dramatic demonstrations of the vastness of the cosmos.

Foothill Saturday Morning Program

Every clear Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. until noon

Visitors to these daytime programs can view details of the sun through our special safe solar filters. We are able to provide spectacular views through both white-light and hydrogen-alpha (0.6 Angstrom) filters.

Visitors can inspect two different layers of the sun –– the photosphere and the chromosphere. Depending on solar activity, guests will see sunspots (giant cooler areas on the sun’s surface), solar prominences (huge flame-like eruptions), and solar flares (titanic explosions).

Observatory Location and Parking Information

Is the observatory open? Click here to view the Observatory Webcam to find out!

Getting to Campus
The observatory is on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, right off the Highway 280 El Monte Road exit.

Location on Campus
The observatory is next to Parking Lot 4 and the Krause Center for Innovation (Building 4000). Check the campus map for details.

Visitor parking permits are required and available from machines located in the parking lots. Parking is $3.00 per vehicle. 

NOTE: Please do not park in spaces marked “Staff” or you will be ticketed!

View of the Sky Above Foothill Observatory

View a map of the sky above Foothill Observatory!

Clear Sky Chart