Historic observatories are where our eyes were opened to the vastness of the cosmos and our connection to it.

The Alliance of Historic Observatories preserves and promotes their enduring power to orient and inspire us on our journey into the future.


Who We Are

The Alliance of Historic Observatories (AHO) was established in 2019 as a group of scientifically and historically prominent observatories gathered to consider their future. AHO is an affiliation that facilitates collaboration among member observatories to preserve and share their legacies, and support their ongoing missions.



Develop strategies for preserving and sharing our legacies with future generations.

Share methods to preserve the infrastructure of historic observatories.

Tell our stories as a model for how the observatories inspire people around the world to foster greater literacy in science.

Become model institutions of youth STEM programs.

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Yerkes Observatory south fa├žade (source)
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The 24-inch Clark Telescope at Lowell Observatory (Lowell Observatory/S.Gilbert)
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The Hale Telescope dome at Palomar Observatory (Palomar Observatory/Caltech)
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The 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory (Mt. Wilson Observatory/D.Jurasevich)
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Aerial view of Griffith Observatory (source)
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The 36-inch Great Lick Refractor at Lick Observatory (UC Regents/Lick Observatory/C.Schodt)
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The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope at Mt. Graham International Observatory (source)
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Pic du Midi Observatory (Pic du Midi)

Founding Members and Affiliates

Griffith Observatory

est. 1935

Lick Observatory

est. 1888

Lowell Observatory

est. 1894

Mt. Wilson Observatory

est. 1904

Palomar Observatory

est. 1948

Pic du Midi Observatory

est. 1873

Vatican Observatory

est. 1577

Yerkes Observatory

est. 1892

Antique Telescope Society

est. 1991

Explore Scientific

est. 2008

Institute for Student Astronomical Research

est. 2017

People from all cultures have shared a sense of wonder and inspiration beholding the night sky and contemplating its connection to our lives on Earth. Throughout human history this curiosity and inspiration is reflected in our storytelling, poetry, mythology, music, art, and science.

Alliance observatories marked a turning point in human history where we developed the tools to inform modern ideas of time, space, and physical cosmology; stellar life cycles, populations, and nucleosynthesis as the origin of chemistry that makes life on Earth possible; and the remarkable diversity of the Solar System and the current quest to place it in the context of planetary systems beyond our own.

The collective contributions of observatories in this alliance put humankind on the path to a much deeper understanding of the universe and our profound connection to it.


Visit our Observatories—Virtually

Several of our facilities have virtual tours in video or interactive form. Below are links to these media: