GROUP TOURS FAQ

 

What are Group Tours?

Group Tours of the James C. Veen Observatory are specific nights and times when we open the facilities to local groups of any kind. We provide tours of the facilities and observations through our telescopes.

 

How do I schedule a Group Tour?

To schedule a Group Tour, please fill out the Group Reservation Form available on this website.

 

What time are the Group Tours held?

Times are arranged between the group leader and the person scheduling the group. They generally begin shortly after sunset.

 

Is there a fee for Group Tours?

The fee for Group Tours to the Observatory is $50 per scheduled evening. This fee is non-refundable, as cloud nights and alternative programs are available.

 

What will we see?

In addition to a tour of the facilities, there is an audio-visual presentation about the Observatory and the GRAAA. Depending on the month and time of the year and what is above the horizon, you will observe a variety of objects through our telescopes, including the moon, the planets of the solar system, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and bright satellites.

How do we get to the James C. Veen Observatory?

A map of the Veen Observatory can be found here. There are signs posted on the main road to the Observatory pointing toward the parking area. There is a parking lot at the bottom of the hill where you will be directed to park. The walk up the road to the Observatory is approximately 1/4 mile. The Observatory road is lighted for group visits.

Do I need to bring anything?

A flashlight is suggested, as it is kept as dark as possible on the Observatory grounds. Dark skies and surroundings are the only way to observe and appreciate the wonders of the universe. If you have binoculars, bring them. Some type of insect repellent is also suggested, as the Observatory is located in a wooded area. Warm clothing is suggested depending on the season.

Other Information

Even though the GRAAA owns and operates the Veen Observatory, it is on private property. We please ask parents to watch their children. It is dark at the Observatory, and any running or horseplay could result in unforeseen injuries. There is a restroom available on the premises, and water for those who need it.

Please email us if you have additional questions.

© 2020 Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association, Inc.

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