Black Nugget Lake Observatory

A visionary project to provide Albertans with awe-inspiring views of the Universe.

RASC Edmonton Centre is building the Black Nugget Lake Observatory (BNLO), a dark sky observatory at Black Nugget Lake Park, 70 km (42 miles) southeast of Edmonton. This is sufficiently distant from Edmonton, that truly dark skies can be enjoyed. The observatory will house the largest telescope in Western Canada for the public to look through at a dark site.

The Facility

The facility consists of two buildings: the Observatory with a 4.25 m (14 ft) domed roof and the Visitor Centre. Both buildings are completed.

The Telescope

The telescope is a folded Newtonian instrument with an 81 cm (32 in) f/4 primary mirror. The optical components, made by legendary mirror maker Barry Arnold and donated by long-time Edmonton Centre member and former Councillor Robert Drew, are finished. Construction of the telescope, aided by a recent donation by Robert Drew, is underway by master telescope builder Roman Unyk.

Illustration of observatory and telescope. Figure to scale.


The facility will be completed in 2023.

For more information, contact the BNLO Committee.

Observing Site

BNLO also includes an observing site, a graveled field about 70 m square, for use by authorized RASC Edmonton Centre members for personal astronomy (from the day after Thanksgiving to April 30). There’s a berm to the north shielding the field from the adjacent road and golf course operation, and there are trees and slopes to the east and west shielding the site from prevailing winds. To obtain authorization to use the observing site, go to: and familiarize yourself with the BNLO Access Policy and Rules of Conduct and follow the instructions.

Barry Arnold Memorial Telescope

BNLO also includes the Barry Arnold Memorial Telescope (BAMT), a fine 46 cm (18 in) f/4.33 Dobsonian telescope on a Poncet mount, for use by authorized RASC Edmonton Centre members. To obtain authorization to use the BAMT, go to: and familiarize yourself with the BAMT policies and procedures and follow the instructions.

The Black Nugget Lake Observatory will thrill Albertans with views of the heavens for generations.