Schematic Design of the Future Observatory Building by Architect Robert Kaczowka

The Stellar Vista Observatory Working Group was formed in 2018 by Kanab area residents to create a public, educational astronomical observatory serving visitors to southwest Utah and residents of Kanab and surrounding communities. SVO received its 501-c3 status as a nonprofit charitable organization from the IRS in 2019. The organization encourages community and visitor participation in SVO events and is open to all.

Clear weather, high altitude, and substantial distance from major cities and sources of light pollution make Kanab and Kane County an ideal location for a public educational observatory. In 2018, the City of Kanab wisely enacted an outdoor lighting ordinance to protect the visibility of its outstanding night sky resource for generations to come.

Kanab’s Stellar Vista Observatory will facilitate learning and direct experience of the night sky, serving youth in primary, secondary and post-secondary education as well as adults and the visiting public. It will provide students of all ages with inspiration to explore and study astronomical objects and phenomena in ways that cannot be derived or experienced from textbooks.

The building design with its roll-off roof and outdoor sky viewing plaza will be sufficient to comfortably accommodate up to 76 participants for a typical evening program of constellation tours and through-the-eyepiece observation of deep sky objects, planets, and the moon, with powerful pier-mounted telescopes or one of our many portable telescopes out on the plaza. A 40-seat classroom to facilitate educational lectures will round out its range of features.

In March 2024, SVO applied for a $200,000 Tier 1 Outdoor Recreation Grant from the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation to begin Phase 1 site improvements for its future observatory!

The future Stellar Vista Observatory in Kanab, Utah, is destined to be a major attraction for the millions who transit the region each year bound for Lake Powell, Zion, Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce and other National Parks, Monuments and State Parks of southern Utah and the Arizona Strip. Many will witness for the very first time a clear starry night sky, prompting tourists who might only pass through to spend a night in the area.