Rangá Observatory


Hotel Rangá red logo.

“The night sky is always changing, and there is always something new to see - whatever amazing constellations, far-off planets or the incredible spectacle of the Northern Lights.”

Signature of local astronomer Saevar Helgi Bragason.

Sævar Helgi Bragason

Local Astronomer at Rangá Observatory
Sævar Helgi Bragason, expert astronomer.
Photo by Babak A. Tafreshi

Rangá Observatory

Photo by Andrew Klotz

Telescope 1

The 14 inch Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector is an ideal choice for observation, astrophotography, and imaging objects beyond our solar system with exceptional sharpness and resolution, as well as magnification potential. 

Photo by Andrew Klotz

Telescope 2

The TEC 160ED APO refractor on a Astrophysics 900 mount is wonderful for both observation and astrophotography, allowing our guests to get an up close look at the beauty of space including detailed glimpses of stars and planets alike.

Photo by Tom Stahl

The House

On clear nights, a local astronomer guides our guests through a tour of the night sky. You will learn about constellations, galaxies and distant planets. The Rangá Observatory is stocked with two high-quality telescopes to enhance your journey through the cosmos. You will spot amazing detail not visible to the human eye and learn fascinating facts about the solar system.

View of the far-off rosette nebula photographed in the Hotel Rangá Observatory in south Iceland.
View of the far-off rosette nebula photographed in the Hotel Rangá Observatory in south Iceland. Photo by Gísli Már.
A woman peers through a telescope and a man stares into the starry night sky in the Rangá Observatory in south Iceland.
Housing two amazing telescopes, the Rangá Observatory is one of a kind and a perfect place to stargaze. Photo by Milan & Seila.
stargazing in iceland with specialists

Local Astronomers

On clear nights from September to April, we invite a local astronomer to guide our guests through a tour of the dazzling night sky. These experts can help you use our high-tech telescopes to see stars and planets in amazing detail. Turn your gaze toward space and learn about the wonders of the night sky, the stories behind ancient constellations and the formation of far-off stars and planets.

Guests at Hotel Rangá stargazing in the Hotel Rangá observatory that houses two high-quality telescopes.
Stargazing in the Hotel Rangá Observatory. Photo by Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson.
A stargazing expert in Hotel Rangá Observatory.
Shimmering Bands of Dancing Light

Virtual Visit To Rangá Observatory

Step into the mesmerizing world of celestial wonders with our exclusive Virtual Visit to Rangá Observatory.

Join us on this virtual journey as you explore state-of-the-art telescopes, guided by our expert astronomers, who unravel the mysteries of the universe —all without leaving your couch.

Rangá Observatory on Instagram

Come with us on a stargazing journey @hotelranga

FAQ Rangá Observatory

Because the sun almost never sets during Icelandic summer nights, the observatory is only open between the months of September and April, unless upon request. To stargaze, we need clear skies with no chance of high clouds or rain, as moisture and high winds can damage our telescopes while high clouds blur out otherwise spectacular views. We open our observatory when the forecast shows that the sky will remain clear for several hours.

The observatory is open every clear night when weather conditions allow and includes experts on site. However, if you wish to see the observatory outside of opening hours we are happy to show it to you (no telescopes can be used though). 

Yes, when the observatory is open it is guided with an astronomer. Please book in advance. We usually know around 17:00 same day if the conditions allow opening. 

In Iceland, the Northern Lights are visible between September and April. Slightly after the autumn equinox and slightly before the spring equinox there are statistically somewhat better viewing conditions and more consistent Northern Lights. However, although there are somewhat better chances of seeing the Aurora during that time, we can never guarantee that the lights will appear.

There are three main variables that affect the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland: solar winds, local weather and the moon. The moon has an inhibitive effect in regards to weaker Auroras. We have, however, seen some stunning Northern Lights under a full moon — especially during a very active solar wind. The main factor that influences the appearance of the Aurora is the sun/sunspots/CME activity and the local weather (i.e. clouds). You can see the forecast for the next few days at this link.

We offer a Northern Lights wake-up call to make sure that our guests do not miss the lights should they appear in the middle of the night. We also provide warm snowsuits and blankets for our guests, and custom-made benches are available in the front of Hotel Rangá for guests to use while they watch the show.

Northern Lights can be seen with our bare eyes. The camera tends to enhance them, but they can be seen with the human eye – also the colors when they appear. 

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