Did you know that Osoyoos is one of the best places in Canada for observing our galaxy? This was determined by testing done to identify the possible site for the Queen Elizabeth Telescope, which would have been placed on Mt. Kobau, and house Canada’s National Observatory. It was an exceptional location because of the number of clear nights and moderate climate and because of its location on the crossroads of Highway 97 and Highway 3. Read more about the history here.
A drive to the summit of Mt. Kobau offers a wide panoramic view over the valley with dark skies overhead. During the Perseid meteor showers in mid-August, it should be possible to enjoy naked-eye observations of meteors. Viewing of other celestial objects can be enjoyed with binocular or telescopic equipment.
You could also expect to get some nice viewing from some of the Osoyoos Mountain Estates properties as well atop Anarchist Mountain.
The months that offer the best chance for reliable weather are from April through October, where the desert climate and absence of dew both contribute to good observing. However, on the crisp and clear winter nights – plenty of stars are to be found in Osoyoos and the South Okanagan. All you have to do is look up!
Experience the night sky in Osoyoos with the Mt Kobau Star Party
Each year many astronomers venture to the top of Mt Kobau for the Mt Kobau Star Party. Mt. Kobau Star Party is for those whose hearts swell at the sight of faint starlight; it is not for the faint of heart. The bumpy road to the summit can de-collimate more than your telescope. At night, while good seeing tests your scope’s resolution, cold temperatures will test your personal resolve.