Trottier Observatory Star Charts

graphic design / icons

The Trottier Observatory and Courtyard is located on top of Burnaby Mountain, at Simon Fraser University. In 2014, the science courtyard underwent a major landscape development that would bring science education and astronomy to students and the general public.  We were tasked with designing star charts that mapped four seasons of the night sky constellations of the Milky Way.

The process of designing the star charts involved meticulous attention to detail. Working closely with SFU physics professor Howard Trottier, we were able to accurately represent the seasonal constellation positions, the relative sizes of the stars, and even the stars’ brightness! Each panel was made from anodized aluminum and machine-etched. This build technique provided high-contrast for visibility during the day, while at night, discreet illumination represented the stars above with a subtle, atmospheric glow.

Environment Display / icons





deep star objects

Deep sky objects (such as Galaxies and Nebulas) on the Trottier star charts were represented with custom designed icons, similar to ones used on astronomical maps. The icons help to engage visitors, by accurately identifying where each object is found in the night sky.