Public Astronomy Observations.
The SIUC Physics Department hosts several free public observations a year on our observation deck on top of the Neckers building. Most observations are on enenings when light polution on campus is at a minimum. We typically observe bright sky objects such as the Moon, major planets, star clusters, nebula and some deep sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy. All observations are weather dependant and space limited. If you have a large group or have special needs, please contact the event coordinator to let them know in advance. The observation deck is not handicap accessible, however we can arrange for telescopes to bet setup at ground level as long as we have advance notice.
Summer 2013 Public Observations flyer. PDF format.
Sunday, May 26, 7:30pm - 9pm. Dance of the Planets.
Free Public Astronomy Observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. Just after sunset, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury will be grouped tightly together on the western horizon, and Saturn will be rising in the East. This is a rare opportunity to see 4 planets at one time in the evening sky. A presentation on the night sky will be shown during the observation that will utilize several telescopes available for public use. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, June 23, 8:30pm - 10pm. SUPERMOON!
Free Public Astronomy Observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. The observation starts with Saturn high in the sky, and the largest Moon of the year rising around 8:45pm. The Moon will be at it's closest distance to Earth, and will appear about 10% larger than normal. A presentation on the night sky will be shown during the observation that will utilize several telescopes available for public use. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, July 14, 8:30pm - 10pm.
Free Public Astronomy Observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. Highlights for the evening include Saturn, The Ring Nebula, and the Moon. The Moon this evening will be a slight crescent and relatively dark, which will allow for better viewing of Saturn, and distant objects like the Ring Nebula. A presentation on the night sky will be shown during the observation that will utilize several telescopes available for public use. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, Aug 25, 8pm - 10pm. SIU Week of Welcome.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. Venus will be visible early on in the observation as it sets in the West just after Sunset followed by Saturn setting about an hour later. There will not be a Moon during this observation, which will make for very dark skies and good viewing of some more distant objects such as the Ring and Swan Nebula. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
The Physics Department Observation Deck is located on the South West (A-Wing) roof of the Neckers building at 1245 Lincoln Drive. Enter campus using the main entrance from Rt. 51 on Lincoln drive. Take Lincoln drive past the Studnet Center and the Engineering building and park in the lot between Neckers and the Public Policy Institute. Enter the building through the west doors facing the parking lot. Take the stairs up to the fourth floor. Meet outside Neckers 456 or follow the signs from there up the South West stiarwell to the rooftop observatation deck. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Alternate / Special Ovservations
Campus and community groups can arrange special observation on campus, or we can bring telescopes to you. To make arragnements, contact Bob Baer at 618-453-2729, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observation Deck and Telescopes
The observation deck is 624 sq feet in size. It is built out of 2" thick rubber matting for vibration isolation. The primary telescope is a 10" Meade LX200R. This computer guided telescope is used for all observation events as well as the lab portion of PHYS 103 (Astronomy). Several additional scopes are setup for observations as needed including Celestron 8" SCTs, a Coronado SolarMax II, and a Stelarvue SV105 Raptor (105mm refractor).
|Meade 10" LX200R||Celestron 8" Manual|
|Stellarvue SV105 Raptor|
What Can you See?
The most spectacular viewing is of the Moon and major planets such as Jupiter, Saturn and Venus and Mars. On clear nights, you can easily see the rings of Saturn and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Brighter objects such as the Great Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galazy and several clusters are also visible. Dimmer deep sky objects are typically only visible durring cooler evenings with low humidity and not much cloud cover.
Previous Event Photos
June 5, 4:00pm - 10:30 pm. Special daytime solar observation - Transit of Venus. If you missed the transit, you can see photos of the event here. Special thanks to the Astronomical Asscoiation of Southern Illinois as well as all the people who turned out and helped out on the day of the event.
Additional Local Observation Opportunities.
Several of our observations are held in cooperation wtih the Astronomical Association of Southern Illinois. AASI also holds public and private astronomy observations around Carbondale and the surrounding area. See their website, or their Group Facebook page for more information.
Find observations in your area by searching the Night Sky Network sponsored by NASA.