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GODO Premium Access: A New Way to Touch the Stars

Comet NEOWISE shooting over the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, taken by Jim Cole
Comet NEOWISE over the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, featuring our new glowing pathway | Jim Cole

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at Lowell Observatory made the difficult decision to close our visitor program. We pledged not to reopen our doors to the public until the proper health and safety guidelines could be put in place. While general admission remains closed, we are unveiling a new private viewing experience that offers the very best in telescope viewing, all with the utmost health and safety of our guests and staff in mind.

What is Giovale Open Deck Observatory Premium Access?

Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO) Premium Access is a private, personalized, streamlined stargazing experience at the Giovale Open Deck Observatory. For 90 minutes, you and your private group of up to ten members will have the GODO and its six cutting-edge telescopes all to yourselves. All private group members must belong to the same household or traveling party. You will be accompanied by three of our specially-trained educators, who will be your intrepid guides to the cosmos for the evening. They’ll handle telescope operation—just tell them what kinds of celestial objects you’d like to see, and they’ll do the rest!

Your private stargazing session will be interspersed with a guided tour of the night sky, during which an educator will use a high-powered laser pointer to show you prominent stars and constellations. You’ll also hear the epic tales of how those very stars and constellations formed, both according to science and to the legends of ancient cultures. Perched atop Mars Hill and surrounded by a designated dark sky community, Lowell Observatory offers a dazzling celestial view that is becoming increasingly difficult to come by in the modern world.

A New GODO Experience 

For those who have visited the GODO in the past, a few things have changed. Of these, perhaps the most visually striking is the installation of a brand new pathway lined with dazzling glow-in-the-dark stones. As your eyes adjust, the glowing path seems to materialize out of the darkness in front of you. It’s like a trail of fallen stars leading you to your destination. Paired with the dazzling array of real stars above you, it’s like taking a walk through space itself. 

Additionally, strict hygiene protocols have been enacted at the GODO to help deter the spread of COVID-19. Telescope eyepieces have been fitted with clear plastic coverings that are disinfected between use by staff and guests. The plastic coverings prevent damage to the eyepieces during the disinfection process without clouding your view of the cosmos. Educators will practice physical distancing throughout the entirety of the Premium Access experience, and masks will be required by everyone present. In this first phase of our opening process, we hope that guests will feel at ease knowing that their health and safety is paramount to us.

Be among the first to experience wonder at Lowell Observatory in this exclusive, cautious approach to reopening.

Welcome back to the home of Pluto.


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