There are a number of observatories in Israel. Most of them belong to scientific institutions, while some are private and commercial. All of the observatories have smaller telescopes that are used for public viewing and for sun observations, as well as additional equipment used for explanations and demonstrations.
The Israeli Astronomical Association and the Givatayim Municipality founded the Givatayim Observatory in 1967. Today it is run by the non-profit Givatayim Community organization. Since it began operations, the Observatory has been a focal point for astronomical activities for the public, offering classes for all levels and activities in collaboration with the Israel Space Agency and the Ministry of Science and Technology. This is the oldest Observatory in Israel that is open to the public and it is a popular center for astronomy education as well as for astronomy and science enthusiasts. Students use the Observatory’s main telescope, which measures 16” in diameter, for research projects and the observation of space. The Observatory has an innovative digital planetarium as well as displays related to astronomy and space. It offers weekly activities, with astronomical experiences for all ages.
Dr. Diana Laufer - Scientific Director, Givatayim Observatory
Nadav Rotenberg – Chairman, Israeli Astronomical Association
Ramon Crater International Dark Sky Park
The Ramon Crater Nature Reserve is an erosion crater that has unique geological formations that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. On September 25, 2017, the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) declared part of the crater to be an international dark sky park. This means it was recognized it as a site where the night sky is preserved in its natural state, covered with stars, for ecological, astronomical and cultural reasons.
The international recognition specifically defines the western part of the crater as a non-violated core area. Whereas the eastern part of the crater is designated as an area in which the Israel Nature and Parks Authority allows the public to enjoy a unique nighttime experience from campgrounds designed to minimize light pollution, and also educational content related to astronomy and nature at night.
Wise Observatory, Mitzpe Ramon
The Florence and George Wise Observatory near Mitzpe Ramon was dedicated in October 1971 and is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Observatory is operated by Tel Aviv University and serves astronomers from Israel and around the world. The first telescope built at the Observatory is the largest scientific telescope in the Middle East, with a mirror measuring one meter in diameter. Over the years, additional telescopes have been added and all of the telescopes are robotically operated. The Observatory conducts scientific research on all the celestial bodies, from planets and asteroids in our solar system, through distant suns and solar systems in the Milky Way galaxy, to distant supernovas and galaxies, and the farthest black holes in the universe.
Dr. Shai Kaspi
Technical Manager, Tel Aviv University Wise Observatory
The First Day Cover features stars and asteroids in the solar system, from left to right:
Mercury, Venus, Earth and the Moon, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
The FDC design is based on a diagram courtesy of NASA.