The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is open Wed-Fri 10am-5pm & Sat-Sun 10am-6pm, and will be open on on Monday, January 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from 10am-5pm. Advanced ticket purchase is required. By visiting The Franklin Institute, the guest voluntarily assumes all risks related to potential exposure to COVID-19 in or about The Franklin Institute. Learn more about our commitment to safety.

Observatory Icon

Visit the Holt & Miller Observatory for a bit of stargazing on the rooftop! Our instruments, including the 10-inch Zeiss refractor and four Celestron CPC 800 GPS Computerized Telescopes, and 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain models, provide views of most planets and bright stars, several star clusters and nebulae, and a few galaxies. On a clear day, you may be able to see sun flares and spots, and at times, the moon!

Open daily (weather permitting), the Holt & Miller Observatory is operated and maintained by The Franklin Institute's Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts and staffed by a staff of knowledgeable volunteers. It is one of a handful of observatories in the country to provide optically-safe, real-time, direct observation of solar activity such as flares and prominences.

Things to Do and See at the Observatory

  • Chief astronomer Derrick Pitts educating in the Holt & Miller Observatory on the roof of The Franklin Institute.
    Stargaze with 10-inch Zeiss Refractor Telescope

    Planets, stars, star clusters, nebulae, and a even few galaxies await!

  • A young boy looking through the sunspotter telescope in The Franklin Institute's Observatory.
    Visit the nearest star—Our Sun

    See what real sunspots and flares look like without the need for shades!

  • The Franklin Institute's telescope trained on a planet above the Philadelphia skyline.
    Travel through our Solar System

    Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Venus are often stops on this interplanetary tour!

Interactive Map

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Map of the fourth floor, showing the location of the Observatory.
Map of the fourth floor, showing the location of the Observatory.