The observatory is open every Friday from 8:30 - 10pm during daylight savings and 7:30 - 10pm during standard time, weather permitting. It is also open on the first Sunday of the month from 1:00 - 4:00pm for safe viewing of the sun, weather permitting.
Observatory hours are subject to change based upon the current or expected weather conditions. For specific information about observatory hours, please call ahead at 248 645.3200, and press 3.
The Cranbrook Observatory is FREE with admission to the Institute.
In 2012, a profound upgrade of the observatory which included three new telescopes, architectural changes in the viewing space, a new dome, and compatibility with the planetarium created an experience unparalleled anywhere in the Midwest. The main telescope, a remote controllable 20-inch CDK research grade system, will be partnered with 6-inch Takahashi refractor and a Lunt solar telescope for better viewing capabilities and even live observation of the Sun. In addition, high quality CCD image cameras will enable real- time recording and conversion of images into digital photos for use on the planetarium dome. These cameras also will be operable from the planetarium.
Part of a generous gift from the Mike and Adele Acheson family, the observatory improvements complete the total renovation of the astronomy infrastructure at the Institute started last year with upgrades to the planetarium. Since re-opening in October, The new Acheson Planetarium has offered visitors a 360 degree aural experience that delivers images that are three times brighter, crisper and more color saturated than before. In addition, a “green” lighting system for the projection of any color in the spectrum for greater visual effects capabilities, new sound systems and technology deliver the most intense planetarium experience in southeast Michigan.
This is a link to an indicator that attempts to show at a glance when, in the next 48 hours, clear and dark skies are expected for Cranbrook Institute of Science.
The forecast data comes from a numerical weather model run by Canadian Meteorological Centre.
Click on the link then read from left to right. Locate a column of blue blocks. That is when the sky will likely to be clear and dark.
Historically, Cranbrook's Observatory began in 1927, when George G. Booth was developing Cranbrook as a cultural and educational complex. Many people were involved in the project, but Judge Henry Schoolcraft Hulbert was one of the most outstanding.
Judge Hulbert was associated with the courts of Wayne County for 44-years. In 1887, at the age of 18, he built his own telescope and observatory near the present Wayne State University campus, and developed an excellent working knowledge of the sky.