Members of Eastern’s astronomy club will help show people
different objects in the sky, including stars and galaxies on
Friday at Eastern’s observatory.
The observatory will be open to the public today from 8 to 11
p.m. for Family Weekend. Admission to the tour will be free.
There will also be a tour group meeting at 9:30 p.m. under the
Bridge Walkway of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Observatory director and physics professor, James Conwell, said
everyone is welcome, and they will be looking at the Ring Nebula as
well as the moon and other celestial objects.
The observatory is located on the southwestern side of campus,
just past the campus pond. The observatory houses a 16 inch
Conwell said Eastern uses the observatory for other open houses
throughout the year. It is open after the sunsets on the last
Friday of every month and for special occasions. Even if the sky is
cloudy, the observatory is open for tours.
“Sometimes we had people here till 3 a.m.,” Conwell said.
When not open for tours, the observatory is used as a research
facility, said Conwell. The telescope is fully robotic and the dome
on top of the observatory rotates a full 360 degrees.
Tyler Linder, a senior physics major, is a member of the
astronomy club and said the members of the club will be adding more
ways for participants to see the sky.
“We will have high-power binoculars and at least two telescopes
outside the observatory,” Linder said.
Conwell, a professor of over 26 years at Eastern, has been here
since the beginning of the observatory and is one of the three main
people maintaining and operating the telescope.
He said retired alumni donated the observatory in 2004. Conwell
said when the observatory was built students helped with some
They built the observing platform, cut the hole in the roof for
the dome and installed it.
Many families visit from around the area from Charleston and
Mattoon including other schools, Linder said.
“At first people, have a curiosity, then after looking into the
telescope they become amazed and shocked to what they can see,”
Linder said tours last a few minutes up to a few hours, but
most tours last about 30 minutes.
Corey Ascolani can be reached at
581-2812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
observatory houses, campus pond, stars and galaxies, southwestern side <BR/>