Observatory Nights at Rio Hondo


If you are looking for a date night, a way to see the stars, or simply a way to spend your Friday night, look no further.

The Observatory at Rio Hondo hosts what they call “Observatory Nights” every Friday night. The events are hosted by Observatory Director Chris Soto.  The event starts at 7 pm and is scheduled to run until 10 pm. 

Guidlines and Safety

Before attending the Observatory nights, there are guidelines you need to know. First things first, masks are required inside the observatory. The COVID-19 disease is still out there and infecting people. Masks help everyone feel a little safer and more secure. 

The event is contingent upon clear weather. This means clouds or rain could cause cancellation. 

If you are attending, Soto recommends arriving 15 to 20 minutes before the scheduled start time. This ensures everyone is on time, however, you do not need to be on time to enter. The hosts ask that you park in Lot C, and meet at the gate in front of the Child Development Center. 

Meeting Time and Area

Everyone will walk up as a group at the appointed time. You do not need a parking permit on Observatory Nights. 

Guests arriving after the start time are free to walk up on their own. The walk up the road to the observatory is a half-mile hike uphill. The hike is also on a paved road with a moderate to steep incline. Soto encourages comfortable shoes and walking at a relaxed pace. 

There are no restroom facilities, vending machines, or water fountains at the observatory. Visitors are welcome to bring beverages and snacks. However, please do not litter or feed any of the wildlife.

Wildlife Habitat

It may be dark out when folks show up to the event, but flashlights are not required. Flashlights are discouraged. Soto recommends keeping the observatory grounds as dark as possible to allow the eyes to become, and stay, dark-adapted. This also entails minimal use of cell phones. Also, flash photography is not permitted.

Rio Hondo college is a “Wildlife Habitat.” Thus, there is always a chance of crossing paths with various animals. These animals will generally keep to themselves, but visitors are encouraged to stay alert. No pets are allowed. 

There is also no smoking allowed, this includes e-cigarettes and vaping. The observatory grounds, as well as the road up, are “smoke-free” environments. This is due to the extremely high danger of fire.

Fun For Free

Observatory nights are a chance to see the stars and admire the night sky for free. The guidelines and rules are there to assure that there can and will be many more opportunities for these events. Soto is kind enough to host these events for the students; it is all free. 

For those attending Observatory nights it is important that you follow two more rules; have fun and enjoy the stars.