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What are the best places for a visit to an observatory or planetarium in New Hampshire?

Exploring the Cosmos from New Hampshire: Top Observatories and Planetariums

New Hampshire, with its clear skies and serene landscapes, offers some of the best stargazing experiences in the Northeast. For astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds alike, the state boasts several observatories and planetariums that provide a window to the wonders of the universe.

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, located in Concord, is a tribute to Christa McAuliffe, the teacher-astronaut from New Hampshire, and Alan Shepard, the first American in space. This air and space museum features a state-of-the-art planetarium where visitors can embark on a cosmic journey through immersive shows that explore the night sky, constellations, and distant galaxies.

The Mount Washington Observatory is renowned for its awe-inspiring location atop the highest peak in the Northeast. While primarily a weather station, it offers guided tours and educational programs that include a glimpse into the powerful telescopes used to study the skies above.

The UNH Observatory in Durham, part of the University of New Hampshire, opens its doors to the public for stargazing nights. Here, both students and visitors can peer through powerful telescopes and learn about celestial events from knowledgeable astronomers.


Q: What is an observatory?
A: An observatory is a facility equipped with telescopes and other instruments for observing celestial events and conducting astronomical research.

Q: What is a planetarium?
A: A planetarium is a theater built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky.

Q: Are these facilities suitable for children?
A: Yes, observatories and planetariums in New Hampshire offer family-friendly programs designed to educate and inspire visitors of all ages.

Q: Do I need to book in advance?
A: It’s recommended to check with each facility regarding their public viewing schedules and if reservations are required, as this can vary by location and event.

Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a novice looking to learn more about the stars, New Hampshire’s observatories and planetariums offer an array of experiences that are both educational and captivating.