Members of the Harvard community who wish to gain access to the Loomis-Michael Observatory for recreational use can do so by taking our telescope course, which covers proper use of the telescope and provides useful instruction on finding and observing interesting astronomical objects. The course is run in both the fall and spring semesters. Summer sessions are occasionally offered, dependent on instructor availability.

Applying to the Class

Due to overwhelming demand, prospective students must submit a short application to STAHR expressing their interest in the telescope classes. Applications and further instructions will be sent over the STAHR-list email list (Subscribe) and Slack channel near the beginning of each semester. Prospective students are encouraged to reapply in subsequent semesters if their first applications are not accepted.

Course Format

The course consists of three training classes, and a test-out practical exam.

Class 1: An introductory session introducing students to the course and the observatory.

Class 2: Primarily focused on getting students comfortable using the telescope.

Class 3: Similar to Class 2, and review for the Test-Out.

Test-Out: Tests the student’s knowledge of STAHR’s rules and policies, and the student’s ability to properly open the observatory, use the telescope to observe an object, and close the observatory. This will be individually scheduled with your teacher.

Conclusion: Within 2 weeks of a successful Test-Out, a student will be granted unlimited access to the Observatory for as long as his/her HUID remains valid.

Directions to Class

Classes are held in the observatory.  To get to the observatory, take the Science Center elevator to the 8th floor and follow the “To the Telescopes” signs up two flights of stairs.


Please address all questions to our Class Coordinator