The Telescopes at the Strasenburgh Planetarium

Before coming, please call the planetarium box office after 7 pm to confirm the telescope is open at 585-697-1945 – or if no answer, call Jim’s cell at 585-703-9876. We often can’t predict if the skies will be clear until the last few hours and sometimes are still wrong!

Park free in the lot behind the planetarium and as you approach the back glass doors of the building, use the large stairwell in the telescope tower on the right.

The Strasenburgh has two telescopes on the roof of the building that are open to the public many Saturday nights when the skies are clear and there’s a good object in the sky. The telescopes are open Saturday nights from dark till about 9:45pm when weather in downtown Rochester is favorable but may pause for the cold winter months. Climb the 61 steps at the back of the planetarium to view the sky through two telescopes operated by knowledgeable volunteers from ASRAS. Admission to the telescopes and parking is free.

Some of the Volunteers Behind the Strasenburgh Planetarium Telescope – Don Chamberlin and Jim Seidewand

Don Chamberlin and Jim Seidewand

We’ve offered free telescope viewing at RMSC since the late 1960s. Viewing takes place at the top of a flight of 61 steps at the back of the Planetarium, a permanent home of 12.5 and 11-inch-diameter reflecting telescopes operated by ASRAS members.

Even though city lights surround the Planetarium, the moon, planets, and bright star clusters are still visible. “A real telescope is important so you can see these sights for yourself,” says Jim Seidewand, ASRAS director of telescope activities at the Planetarium. “If you had the chance, which would you rather do — see the Grand Canyon in person or look at pictures on a computer monitor?”