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 evenings when light pollution 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 dependent 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.
Fall 2012 Public Observations flyer. PDF Format.
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. A presentation on the night sky will accompany the observation. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, Sept 8, 7:30 - 9:30pm.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. Saturn, Venus, and the Moon will be visible just after Sunset. As it gets darker, Neptune, Pluto, Andromeda, and the Ring Nebula should be visible. A presentation on the night sky will accompany the observation. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, Oct 27, 7 - 10pm. Costume Star Party.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. Neptune, Pluto, Andromeda, and the Ring Nebula should be visible this evening as well as several other deep sky objects. Free hot chocolate and showing of classic Sci-Fi episodes on the roof during the observation. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, Nov 17, 8 - 10pm.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department on the Neckers rooftop observation deck. The Moon will be bright this evening with some deep sky objects visible. The great Orion Nebula and Jupiter should be visible around 9:30pm. A presentation on the night sky and free hot chocolate will accompany the observation. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, Dec 8, 5-8pm. - CANCELLED
Due to the recent storm and continued overcast weather forecast for this Sunday, this event has been cancelled.
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 Student 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 stairwell to the rooftop observation deck. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Alternate / Special Observations
Campus and community groups can arrange special observation on campus, or we can bring telescopes to you. To make arrangements, contact Bob Baer at 618-453-2729, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observation Deck and Telescopes
The observation deck is 624 square 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 Galaxy and several clusters are also visible. Dimmer deep sky objects are typically only visible during 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 Association 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 with 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 or using the widget below.