The SIU 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. The observation deck is not handicap accessible, however we can arrange for telescopes to bet setup at ground level for individuals not able to take stairs to the obsevation deck. If you have a large group or other special needs, please contact the event coordinator to let them know in advance. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
NOTE new times for September and November below.
Sunday, September 18, 7:30pm - 10pm
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department at the Neckers observation deck. Visible this evening, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, M57, M31. The observation will include a presentation on the night sky. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, October 16, 8pm - 10pm Supermoon.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department at the Neckers observation deck. Visible this evening, The Moon, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Uranus, M31, M57. The observation will include a presentation on the night sky. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Sunday, November 27, 5:30pm - 7pm.
Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department at the Neckers observation deck. Visible this evening, Venus, Mars, Uranus, M31, M57, Orion Nebula. The observation will include a presentation on the night sky. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.
Alternate / Special Observations
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 14" Meade LX600. 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).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.
What Can You See?
The most spectacular viewing is of the Moon and major planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. On clear nights, you can easily see the rings of Saturn and detailed striations on Jupiter. Brighter objects such as the Great Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy and several clusters are also visible visually.
Dimmer deep sky objects are typically only visible during evenings with low humidity and not much cloud cover. On select night, deep sky cameras are utilized to display images of objects otherwise not visible though visual observations.
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