The Worthy Garden Club Hopservatory opened in May of 2017 with the goal of raising scientific literacy and educating our visitors about big and unwieldy concepts like scale, size, time, distance, and speed in our solar system and beyond. We want people to be amazed and humbled by the beauty and diversity of our galactic garden as well as inspired to take care of our own planet.
Have questions? Interested in volunteering?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (541) 647-6970 x220.
The Transporter Room
Your journey to the great beyond begins here. Sitting at the base of the Hopservatory, the transporter room is decorated with beautiful mosaic tiling depicting the wonders of our universe: speeding comets, space ships, and planets. The center mosaic column (which actually supports the telescope two stories above) portrays the beauty of our planet as seen through the eyes of interstellar travelers. Marbleized Venetian plaster walls replicate a slice of Earth as it rises from the core up through the terrestrial strata towards the stars and beyond, inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The three TV monitors loop educational slides and videos for your viewing pleasure.
But what's it all about? The cosmos contain awe inspiring phenomena, for sure, but we want visitors to look out into that vast space and see just how cold, distant, and inhospitable it all is compared to our own planet. We want you to leave with the impression that our universe is beautiful, but our home planet is more beautiful in its dynamic and life-supporting nature, worth leaving better than we found it.
Traverse two stories up the spiral staircase or ride the elevator to the third floor of the Hopservatory, one of the best views in Bend with a stunning panorama from Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Hood.
Tours take you inside the 16-foot fully automatic, rotating Ash dome to view planets, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, the moon, and the sun through our reflecting and refracting telescopes. The sliding aperture is open only during tours to protect equipment inside, and the dome is not heated (as heat can alter telescope functions). Be sure to dress warmly during the winter months!
While we must admit that east Bend isn't ideal for an observatory, we can still see many of the brightest objects in the sky. We've partnered with Lights Out Bend to do our part in reducing light pollution - we've shielded all of our outdoor lighting, added red or orange filters to fixtures on and immediately adjacent to the Hopservatory, and our employees have pledged to practice smart lighting habits at work and at home. It's something you can do too!
Our pre-owned 16-inch reflecting Ritchey-Chretién telescope was restored by Optical Guidance Systems and installed on March 9, 2017 with help from the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver. Mounted on a pier to clear the height of the dome walls, visitors must scale a short ladder to an elevated platform to look directly through the eyepiece. A 4-inch Televue refracting telescope mounted to the side offers additional perspective as well as safe solar viewing. And thanks to the wonders of technology, our telescope can automatically find and track almost any object in the night sky, so don't be shy about asking our sky guy for a special request! Viewable objects change seasonally.
Did you know the light you see from a distant star actually left its source many, many years ago? That’s why telescopes have been likened to time machines. When we look through the eyepiece, we are seeing light that originated thousands if not millions of years ago. Essentially, we're looking into the past! Trippy, huh? We hope you enjoy your trip into our cosmic neighborhood, and that what you see will spark appreciation for our tiny blue dot.
"At the invitation of James Loftus, I had the pleasure of visiting Oregon over the period of October 10 - 20 to share with Oregon students and teachers my experiences as a NASA engineer, manager and consultant over a 55 year career (1962 - 2017). James arranged an outstanding agenda for my wife and me, and we were able to cover a substantial part of your state, speaking to about 1500 students and teachers. This included groups from to whom I spoke in Bend. After my presentations and some local sight-seeing, we had a lovely dinner at your brew pub, and I appreciate your courtesy in comping my dinner. It was excellent. I also enjoyed the opportunity to visit your observatory - what a unique idea - and in speaking to some of your staff and customers about my experiences at NASA. It was truly a special evening.
Speaking to the Bend students was a delightful experience for us, and I believe we provided some fun and good information about rocket engines, going to the moon, plans for exploring Mars, and a whole host of other interesting topics. Our reception was wonderful, and the audience was accepting and so interested in my topics. Every time I visit a school to talk to the students I come away knowing that our space program will be in good hands as these young people grow up and exhibit the spirit of curiosity and exploration that will drive us further out into the solar system during their lifetimes. There is no doubt that I spoke to some students who will participate in this exciting future - as engineers, scientists, flight controllers, and astronauts!
I was able to bring with me a small 100 pound thrust Apollo spacecraft steering rocket and described its design and use, and was able to demonstrate Newton's Laws and other important chemistry and physics principles to them.
This effort is now my passion and I was able to combine my first trip to Oregon - what an amazingly diverse and beautiful state - with my educational outreach work. I will be working with James to reprise my visit in future years, I hope.
James was an outstanding organizer of the trip and the agenda, and the visit to your establishment was great fun!
I hope to visit Bend again and will certainly plan to dine with you when I am there."
- Norman Chaffee, NASA Propulsion Engineer
"I just LOVE coming here to view the stars! It is always mind blowing to see the detail of what’s out there! Grant is so awesome with guiding you through what you are viewing! This is a definite thing to do especially since it’s in our back yard!!! Look up and be inspired!"
- Alisa Winchell
"Getting to see Jupiter tonight might have been the coolest thing ever. Grant was so knowledgeable, it is a must do and would definitely do it again when I am in Bend."
- Stephanie Burkhart
"We weren’t able to look through the telescope last night because of the weather and STILL had a great time talking with and learning from Grant. We will definitely be back on a clearer night!"
- Michelle Moran
"This should be on your ‘MUST SEE’ list! I have been several times and the experience never disappoints! You should check this out often. Grant is very informative and a wealth of information and enthusiasm to share about astronomy and space. The observatory is an awesome opportunity in our back yard to get an up close and more personal experience of our universe."
- Bradley Anson
"Checked out Uranus in the observatory. Grant was great and answered all of our questions. Awesome non-profit spreading knowledge, be sure to donate!"
- Dylan Goodlife