FAQ

What happens during an AstroTour?
Where are the AstroTours located, and how do I get there?
Where can I find information on the next talk?
What time should I show up?
Do I need to register for the AstroTours?
When does the planetarium registration open?
How much do the AstroTours cost?
Are the AstroTours appropriate for children?
Can I bring a large group to the AstroTours?
Can I have a private tour?
Where can I find information and video of past talks?
I can’t attend the talks on Thursdays. Are there other events I can attend?
Are the facilities for the Public Tours wheelchair accessible?


 
What happens during an AstroTour?

The tour begins with an hour-long lecture starting at 8:10pm in winter and 9:10pm in summer. This is followed by a brief question period, and then the telescope operators will lead you up to the 15th and 16th floors of the McLennan Physical Labs building to give you a tour of the telescopes, which lasts approximately an hour. On clear evenings, it is possible to view many different celestial objects through our telescopes. In case of bad weather, we will provide a virtual sky tour. Concurrent to our telescope tour, we hold planetarium shows in our 25-seat inflatable planetarium. For more information about the AstroTour, see our About page. For more information about the telescopes and planetarium or to sign up for a planetarium show, see our Planetarium and Telescopes page.

 
Where are the AstroTours located, and how do I get there?

The address of the regular AstroTours, and how to reach it, can be found on our Contact page. Special Tours will have location information on their webpages.

 
Where can I find information on the next talk?

Information on the next AstroTour talk can be found here.

 

What time should I show up?

The lecture begins 10 minutes after the hour, at 8:10pm in winter and 9:10pm in summer. We open the doors approximately 15 minutes earlier, and we recommend you arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the lecture starts to guarantee the best seats in the room.

 
Do I need to register for the AstroTours?

There is no need to register for our lectures or telescope tours. You do, however, need to register in advance for the planetarium shows, due to limited seating. You can get more information about that on our Planetarium and Telescopes page. If you are worried about getting a good seat for the lecture, you should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.

 
When does the planetarium registration open?

The planetarium registration opens one week before the date of the AstroTour.

 
How much do the AstroTours cost?

Our tours are always free, since they are run by volunteer graduate students from the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UofT.

 
Are the AstroTours appropriate for children?

The lectures are given at a level that should be understandable to most older children, and the observing sessions and planetarium shows are certainly fun and interesting for children. However, if your child is unable to sit still for 45 minutes or gets tired early, it might be best not to bring him or her to the Tour.

 
Can I bring a large group to the AstroTours?

School classes, cub scouts and other large groups often attend our lectures.

If you are bringing more than five people people to the tour, then it might be a good idea to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to ensure that everyone can sit together. If you are worried that your group is too large, please contact us.

At this time we are not accepting groups of more than five people for regularly scheduled planetarium shows. On occasion, however, our planetarium operators have volunteered to do an extra show for groups with between 10 and 25 people. Please contact us to see if this may be the case for the upcoming AstroTour.

Universe.utoronto.ca offers planetarium shows for large groups throughout the month. For more information, go to universe.utoronto.ca, or contact Universe’s planetarium service at planetarium AT astro.utoronto.ca, for more information.

 
Can I have a private tour?

We no longer offer free private tours. If you are interested in a private tour of the planetarium and telescopes, please go to universe.utoronto.ca, or contact Universe’s planetarium service at planetarium AT astro.utoronto.ca.

If you are interested in attending hour-long planetarium shows as an individual or small group, universe.utoronto.ca now offers paid public walk-in shows. You can find more information on their Public Planetarium Show page.

 
Where can I find information and video of past talks?

Videos of past talks can be found on the talks’ respective web page in the Archive. You can also find the vast majority of the past talks we recorded on our Youtube Channel.

 
I can’t attend the talks on Thursdays. Are there other events I can attend?

Yes! There are many astronomy events in Toronto other than the free Thursday night monthly public tours that you can attend, often for free. The AstroTours occasionally host special events, such as the Keynote Lecture, which happen on other days of the week.

The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Dunlap Institute and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics run many outreach events across the city of Toronto and around the year. Their collective outreach website, universe.utoronto.ca, offers a number of services, including Ask-an-Astronomer and paid walk-in planetarium shows. Members of the department perform lectures in various Toronto Public Libraries. Please check the Toronto Public Library Science & Technology event calendar for more details. The three institutes will also hold special events to celebrate major astronomical events; check out their respective websites for details.

For even more astronomy-related activities, please check out our partners’ websites. The RASC and ASX in particular host regular public lectures and telescope viewing nights.

 
Are the facilities for the Public Tours wheelchair accessible?

Our lecture halls for the regular AstroTours are wheelchair accessible via the McLennan Physical Laboratories tower elevator. Unfortunately, our planetarium and telescopes are not wheelchair accessible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.