Welcome to the Burke-Gaffney Observatory

We are excited to announce we have restarted our free group tours! For private groups, contact us for booking. For information about our public tours, check out our information page or reserve tickets on our website.

The Burke-Gaffney Observatory is featured in the Saint Mary's University 2022 Report to the Community, find it here!

Image inside the Burke-Gaffney Observatory dome with white ceilings and blue coloured walls. The white and black telescope is being pointed to by Tiffany Fields, Astronomy Technician, wearing yellow and Dr. Vincent Henault-Brunet looks onward as well, wearing white.

Recently, the Burke-Gaffney Observatory passed its 50th anniversary! In late January 1972, the Burke-Gaffney Observatory was officially opened. Given current COVID restrictions we plan to celebrate this milestone publicly later in the year - stay tuned!

Coincident with this anniversary, a significant capital investment was made to the observatory's equipment - a new mount (see the image below) - the Planewave L600 - replaced the 50-year-old Ealing mount in December 2021 and was fully commissioned by early January 2022. The new mount will significantly improve the overall performance of the observatory. This is because:

  • its slew speed is about 40 times faster than the old mount
  • its sky pointing accuracy is much better, and
  • it tracks the sky much better allowing for longer exposures and better quality images

We have other news to share:

  • David Lane retired from SMU at the end of 2021 after being the observatory's technician for 29 years and its director for about half of that time. 
  • We have a new Observatory Director: Dr. Vincent Henault-Brunet
  • We have welcomed a new Observatory Technician: Tiffany Fields



Welcome to the BGO!

We are an education, outreach and research observatory located in Halifax, NS, Canada operated by the department of Astronomy and Physics in the Faculty of Science at Saint Mary's University.

We are one of only three (associated) observatories in the world, along with the nearby Mini-Robotic Observatory and the Abbey Ridge Observatory, that can be controlled from Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Cell phone text messaging, a dedicated App in a fully-automatic way!

At this site, you will find information about the observatory, how to visit us, and how to use it for your astronomy classes.

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