SF State Observatory

The Observatory is CLOSED to the public during the summer.  Check back in September 2024 for public access days & times.


The SF State Observatory is a student-run facility open to all students, staff, and members of the public three nights per week in fall and spring semesters. With the aid of observatory docents, visitors use telescopes to look at craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn, giant star clusters, nebulae created by dying stars, the Andromeda galaxy, and much more. Need a study break? Drop by, and bring a friend!

*** The Observatory is open ONLY when skies are clear! Please see SF State Instagram to check if we are closed due to poor weather conditions! ***


Special Event:  Partial Solar Eclipse in April 2024!

The morning of Monday, April 8, the Moon will slowly pass across the face of the Sun over the course of about two hours.  As viewed from San Francisco about 1/3 of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon at maximum eclipse  which will occur at about 11:13 am.

It is very important to NEVER look directly at the Sun!  Special solar viewing equipment will be available at two locations if skies are clear enough to see the Sun.

  WHEN:   Monday, April 8   10:15 am - 12:15 pm

  WHERE:   two locations:  Plaza in front of Thornton Hall and in the quad 


Additional Solar Observing in April 2024

The Sun is fascinating to look at even when there is no eclipse.  We are currently approaching solar maximum when the Sun is most active in its 11-year cycle and often has sunspots and prominences that you can see with the specially designed telescopes we'll have set up.

WHEN:    April 2 - 22

Mondays 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Tuesdays 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Thursdays 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

WHERE:    Plaza in front of Thornton Hall


Spring 2024 Public Open Nights

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights only!

Feb. 12 –  Mar. 7 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Mar. 11 –  Mar. 21 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Apr. 3 – Apr. 29 8:00 – 9:30 pm
May 1 – May 9 8:15 – 9:30 pm

How to get to the observatory

  1.    Take the elevator to the 9th floor of Thornton Hall.
  2.    Find the stairwell close to the elevator.
  3.    Walk to the top of the stairs.
  4.    The door to the observatory will be on your LEFT.

Weather updates

For up-to-date information about whether the skies are clear and the Observatory is open, check Instagram: SF State Observatory on Instagram

Highlights this semester

  • Come in February or March to catch Jupiter and its four moons! 
  • Mark your calendar for the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8!   Check out this map to see the "path of totality" where the Moon will totally block out the Sun.  Click anywhere to find out how much of the Sun will be covered from any locating in North America (about 1/3 from San Francisco).  Follow us on Instagram for updates! 

Visit Us

Thornton Hall, 10th Floor
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

Questions & Inquiries?

Please contact Jim Gibson (Astronomy Laboratory, Planetarium, and Observatory Technician) at jimg@sfsu.edu or (415) 338-6164.