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Reopening: What is Phase 2?

It’s official—we’re moving to Phase 2A of our phased reopening plan on April 2nd, 2021!* This means that we’ll have even more on-campus tours and telescope viewing sessions available for guests to book.

*barring unfavorable changes in the pandemic’s trajectory.

What’s new in Phase 2?

As the name suggests, Phase 2: Many-Mooned Gas Giants is the second stage of our reopening plan. The biggest changes between this phase and Phase 1: Solitary Rocky Planets are that we will now allow mixed groups of guests to visit the observatory (rather than requiring that groups be cohabitating or cotraveling) and we will begin offering guided campus tours in addition to the current nighttime Premium Access telescope viewing sessions. New on-campus experiences include socially-distanced Guided Tours and Family Adventures, offered on a limited basis.

Starting on April 2nd, we will begin offering two daytime campus tours: the Mars Hill Tour and the Mars and Pluto Family Adventure. The daytime Mars Hill Tour lasts 90 minutes and includes stops at the historic 24” Clark Refractor, the Pluto Discovery Dome, and the new Giovale Open Deck Observatory (GODO) for solar observing, weather permitting. The daytime Mars and Pluto Family Adventure lasts 90 minutes and was designed with kids in mind. This tour highlights Mars and Pluto, two planets that were famously studied at Lowell Observatory. Like the Mars Hill tour, it includes stops at the Clark Refractor, Pluto Discovery Dome, and the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, followed by solar observing (weather permitting).

Starting on April 12th, we will begin offering two nighttime tours in addition to the daytime options. These will include the Expanding Universe Tour and the Dark Skies Tour. The Expanding Universe Tour is 120 minutes long and includes stops at the Clark Refractor and Pluto Discovery Telescope, followed by a telescope viewing session with all six telescopes at the GODO and a laser-guided constellation tour. The Dark Skies Tour is 60 minutes long and includes a telescope viewing session at the GODO, followed by a laser-guided constellation tour.

Group sizes will still be capped at 10 people, and we will still require guests to wear masks and maintain moderate social distance throughout their visit.

What’s going away in Phase 2?

When Phase 2 begins on April 2nd, 2021, we will no longer offer our Daytime Premium Access experiences. Additionally, our night time GODO Premium Access telescope viewing sessions will shift to being available only three nights a week at first and will then phase out completely towards the end of April.

The last day to experience Daytime Premium Access will be March 31st, and the last night to experience stargazing, reimagined with the GODO Premium Access Experience will be April 25th. Tickets will go fast, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy these incredible experiences before they’re gone!

Frequently Asked Questions

This is a live list that will be updated regularly with FAQs, so be sure to check back to see if your question has already been answered!

Q: Do I still need to make a reservation to visit?

A: Yes! All tours and telescope sessions will need to be booked online, in advance.

Q: When will general admission be available again?

A: General admission will not be available until we reach the third and final phase of our reopening plan, Phase 3: the Kuiper Belt. As of now, we do not have a set date for when we will move into Phase 3, but be sure to stay connected to us via our social media channels for the latest updates on our reopening status.

What are your COVID-19 policies?

A: We require that all guests participate in a quick health screening upon their arrival to the observatory. This will involve questions about your current health and whether or not you have been exposed to anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID, followed by a temperature reading with a contactless thermometer. We also require that all guests wear an appropriate face covering for the entirety of their visit. If they do not have one, a disposable mask will be provided for them. For more information on what we’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, check out our Health and Safety page.

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to visit the observatory?

A: Nope! COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to book any of our on-campus experiences, nor will you be asked to disclose your vaccination status at any point before or during your visit.