The Fremont Peak Observatory is a labor of love and ongoing project of amateur astronomers in the San Francisco Bay Area. The observatory was built and continues to be maintained and operated by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association, an all-volunteer, 510(c)(3) non-profit organization of well over 100 amateur astronomers.
Astronomers have been coming to Fremont Peak State Park for decades, for its promise of dark skies away from city light pollution. Traditionally the park has always been friendly to astronomers, whose gatherings on new moon weekends attract interested members of the public from all over, seeking views through their huge variety of sophisticated telescopes.
In the early 1980's, telescope maker Kevin Medlock was looking for a home for the large 30" f/4.8 Newtonian telescope he was completing. California State Parks cooperated with the astronomer group to approve the building of an observatory at Fremont Peak State Park.
A building design was donated, $25,000 in seed money was raised (from the sale of equipment donated by Celestron Corp.), and ground was broken for the observatory on an open hill behind the ranger residence.
Fremont Peak Observatory opened in 1986, and has operated every summer since, despite having battled the frequently brutal weather on the 3,000 foot peak. Devoted astronomers continue to maintain the observatory and "Challenger" telescope, contributing time, energy, and money, to keep Fremont Peak Observatory one of the finest amateur-operated astronomy centers in the United States.
The Observatory is open to the public for scheduled viewing and educational programs from April through October on Saturday evenings that don't conflict with a full moon. When the summer advection fog rolls in from Monterey Bay and covers the lights of Hollister and Gilroy, the skies above Fremont Peak are as dark and star-filled as any place to be found within 100 miles of the San Francisco Bay area.
© 2006 Fremont Peak Observatory Association
Last updated: 3/4/07
Web site by Doug Brown