Events & Festivals

Stargazing Events: Exploring Kelowna’s Winter Night Sky

Forest outline on a starry night sky off of Clearwater Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park
Nic Collar

The Okanagan Observatory: A Hub for Astronomical Wonders

The Okanagan Observatory is ideal for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts. This secure, dark-sky observing site, located just 35 kilometres from Rutland Road, opens its doors every Friday evening from spring to fall for free public stargazing sessions. These nights under the stars offer a breathtaking view of the Milky Way and constellations, guided by special astronomical laser pointers. The observatory's 25-inch telescope, along with other telescopes provided by club members, unveils the cosmos in stunning detail, from the moon and planets to comets, dying stars, and distant galaxies.

Once a month, the observatory goes a step further in its commitment to inclusivity by offering free wheelchair-accessible bus transportation, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to gaze upon the celestial wonders.

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Okanagan Centre

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Okanagan Centre is another jewel in Kelowna's astronomical crown. It regularly hosts hybrid Zoom and in-person meetings, often featuring presentations by esteemed professionals. For instance, a recent talk titled "Seeing the Galaxy with CHIME" by Dr. Alex Hill offered insights into the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment and its role in unveiling the structure of our magnetized Milky Way. These meetings, held at the Okanagan Campus in Kelowna, are open to visitors who can obtain the link by contacting the society's president.

Notable Astronomical Events in Kelowna’s Winter Sky (December 2023)

December in Kelowna brings a series of astronomical events that transform the night sky into a stage for cosmic performances. The New Moon on December 12 provides the perfect backdrop for stargazing, with its absence allowing the stars to shine in their full glory. Around December 14, the Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak, promising up to 150 shooting stars per hour under ideal conditions.

The December solstice on December 22 heralds the first day of astronomical winter, offering the longest night for celestial observations. This day also features a Moon-Jupiter conjunction, adding a special visual treat to the night sky. The Ursid meteor shower follows, peaking around December 23, best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere. Concluding the month's celestial spectacle, the Full Cold Moon on December 27 illuminates the night, casting its ethereal glow over Kelowna.

Tips for Enjoying Kelowna’s Winter Night Sky

To fully enjoy Kelowna's winter night sky, it's recommended to find a dark spot away from city lights. Equip yourself with a star map or an astronomy app to help identify celestial objects. A pair of binoculars or a telescope can enhance the experience, allowing a closer look at the stars and planets.

Awareness of light pollution and its impact on stargazing is also important. Efforts to preserve dark skies not only benefit astronomy enthusiasts but also contribute to the ecological balance and the well-being of nocturnal wildlife.


The winter night sky over Kelowna is a canvas of cosmic wonders, waiting to be explored. Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or a curious novice, the city's stargazing events and clear winter skies offer an unmatched opportunity to connect with the universe. So bundle up, step outside, and let the stars guide you through a journey of celestial discovery.