To really see the night sky, try visiting one of the five observatories in Atlanta. All of them have public nights and best of all, are free! Although this would be a great educational field trip for kids, I also think it would be a fun and different date night. Below is a round-up for amateur astronomers, or those of us who just like to look at the pretty night sky.
Five Observatories in Atlanta
Georgia Tech Observatory
Where: Georgia Tech Campus | (404) 385-8133
When: Contact Georgia Tech for dates and times
Georgia Tech has an observatory that is open to the public on certain nights, weather permitting. The Public Nights are contingent on clear weather, and it will be canceled if there are too many clouds, so check the website before you go.
Fernbank Science Center
Where: 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta | (678) 874-7102
When: Thurs. and Fri. evenings from 9 pm until 10:30 pm
The Fernbank Observatory houses the largest telescope in the southeastern United States. Free public observations are offered every Thurs. and Fri. evening from 9 pm (or dark) until 10:30 pm (weather permitting). There is an astronomer available as well to position the telescope and answer questions.
Georgia Perimeter College Observatory
What: Dunwoody Campus
Where: 2101 Womack Rd. Atlanta | (770) 274-5000
When: Second Sat. of the month
Visitors can attend a monthly Open House at Georgia Perimeter College’s Observatory. The Open House is the second Sat. of every month unless it rains. Visitors can also make an appointment for viewing anytime. Note: This is a working scientific laboratory, so there isn’t heat, bathrooms, or refreshments.
Hard Labor Creek State Park
Where: 5 Hard Labor Creek Rd. Rutledge | (404) 413-6024
When: March – October One Sat. a month
Hard Labor Creek Observatory is open to the public one Sat. per month from March until October. In case of inclement weather, the facilities will still be open for a tour and a brief slideshow. Contact the GSU Department of Physics and Astronomy at least one week prior to the open house if you want to bring a large group. See the website for tour and observation times.
University of West Georgia
Where: Department of Physics, University of West Georgia, Carrolton | 678-839-4095
When: September – May
The University of West Georgia Observatory holds public observations four to six times per quarter. They have specific dates listed on the website. Special observations by science classes, science clubs and civic or religious groups can be arranged. Public Observations are held if the sky is clear, so call prior to heading out.
What: Observatories in Atlanta
Where: See List below
When: Each observatory listed has public nights
Cost: Free! (for more free things to do in Atlanta, purchase 100+ Free Things to do in Atlanta)