Vanderbilt Observatory

The planetarium’s sky observatory houses both nighttime and daytime telescopes!

Evening viewing takes place every Friday night at 9:00 PM and is free of charge to the visiting public. Daytime viewing of the Sun is harder to predict as it is very dependent upon clear skies and good solar activity, but we try to have it available on clear days in the afternoon when the planetarium is open.
Meade Cassegrain

16” Meade Cassegrain Style Telescope

The larger telescope for viewing of the nighttime sky is a 16” Meade Cassegrain style telescope. This telescope allows visitors to peer through the eyepiece to take in real-time views of the highlights in the evening sky. Below are just some typical sites you might see on any given Friday night.

The Moon
Meade Moon Images

Lunt Solar Systems LS80Tha Pressure Tuned Hydrogen-Alpha Telescope

Lunt Solar Systems LS80Tha Pressure Tuned Hydrogen-Alpha Telescope

The scope is a Lunt Solar Systems LS80Tha Pressure Tuned Hydrogen-Alpha Telescope. It is a refractor style telescope with an 80mm optical aperture. It is also set up with a Dual Internal Stack Etalon System giving us sharp detail and contrast of features on the surface and limb of the Sun. Prominences, flares, super granulation, filaments, and active regions will be observed.

H-alpha light is emitted by the hydrogen atoms that make up the majority of the Sun’s composition. When electrons within the hydrogen atoms absorb energy and rise to a higher energy level we can see this light in our specialized telescope.

Typically, telescopic views of objects in outer space rarely change before our eyes in real-time. However, on a day when the Sun is particularly active we can watch features on the Sun evolve before our eyes while looking through a H-alpha telescope!

The sun

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Upcoming Events

Oct 08

Fun, Creative Workshops for Pre-K, Grades K-5

October 8 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Oct 19
Oct 20