|Location||Oakland, California, United States|
Chabot Space and Science Center, located in Oakland, California, is a center for science learning featuring interactive exhibits, planetariums, a large screen theater, hands-on activities and three powerful telescopes.
The Center is the continuation and expansion of a public observatory that has served San Francisco Bay Area schools and citizens with astronomy and science education programs since 1883. It is named after the father of hydraulic mining and benefactor of the original Oakland Observatory, Anthony Chabot. Since 2000, the Center has been located on the western border of Redwoods Regional Park.
The institution began in 1883 as the Oakland Observatory, through a gift from Anthony Chabot to the City of Oakland. The original Oakland Observatory was located near downtown Oakland and provided public telescope viewing for the community. For decades, it also served as the official timekeeping station for the entire Bay Area, measuring time with its transit telescope.
The observatory moved to its Mountain Boulevard location in 1915 due to increasing light pollution and urban congestion. In the mid-1960s, the facility was expanded considerably. Throughout this time, the Chabot Science Center, as it was renamed, was staffed mainly by Oakland Unified School District personnel and volunteers. In 1977, seismic safety concerns terminated public school students' access to the original observatory facility. The observatory building remained open to the general public, but school activities were limited to outlying classroom buildings and the planetarium.
Recognizing the need to restore full access to the facility, either by repair or relocation, in 1989 Chabot Observatory & Science Center was formed as a Joint Powers Agency with the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District, and the East Bay Regional Park District, in collaboration with the Eastbay Astronomical Society, and in 1992 was recognized as a nonprofit organization. The project was led by Chabot's Executive Director and CEO, Dr. Michael D. Reynolds, breaking ground for the facility in October 1996 with construction of the new 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) Science Center beginning in May 1998.
In January 2000, anticipating the opening of the new facility, the organization changed its name from Chabot Observatory & Science Center to Chabot Space & Science Center. The new name was chosen to better convey the organization's focus on astronomy and the space sciences, while communicating both the broad range and the technologically advanced nature of programs available in the new Science Center.
Opened August 19, 2000, the Chabot Space & Science Center is an 86,000-square-foot (8,000 m2), state-of-the-art science and technology education facility on a 13-acre (53,000 m2) site in the hills of Oakland, California. The museum was formerly an affiliate in the Smithsonian Affiliations program  but is currently no longer an affiliate.
Aside from its telescopes, it contains:
Chabot Space and Science Center has three observatory telescopes, all of which are open to the public on weekends.
Meridian Transit Telescope
The Planetarium seats 250 people under a 70-foot (21 m) diameter dome and features live weekly shows presented by a staff astronomer, also daily pre-recorded "fulldome" shows.
The custom-built Zeiss Universarium Mark VIII fiber-optic star projector was recently refurbished. World-class optics create a precise, deep-field sky with up to 9,000 celestial objects.
Cosmos 360 uses the planetarium's digital system to view the night sky. The guided tour includes in-depth views of planets, constellations and other current astronomical events. The show is updated to reflect seasonal night skies.
The Chabot Space and Science Center offers volunteer and educational opportunities to local teens, who work as explainers on the museum floor or on outreach trips. The program was initiated by a grant from YouthALIVE! (Youth Achievement through Learning Involvement, Volunteer and Employment!) through the Association of Science-Technology Centers.