The Agerton Observatory is operated by GSW's Department of Geology & Physics and is located on campus atop the Roney Building. The observatory dome and walkway were completed in the Spring of 2003 with generous donations provided by Emeritus GSW Professor Millard Agerton. The Agerton Observatory is an integral part of Solar System Astronomy (PHYS1221), Stellar Astronomy (PHYS1222) and Solar System Exploration (GEOL1221). The observatory is open to the public for periodic open-house viewings of the planets, the moon and other astronomical objects.
NEXT OPEN HOUSE: Friday, September 30
8:00 - 9:30 PM
Come see Mars, Saturn and more!
The Agerton observatory is on the GSW campus. The Agerton Observatory is the small dome on top of the Roney building. Which is off Perimeter Rd, between the tennis courts and the Lake. There will be signs out for events, otherwise follow signs to Jackson Hall. Parking is in the parking lot between, the Roney and the Business buildings. From the parking lot, go up the stairs and to the right. Access to the observatory is via an outside stairwell between the Roney and Science buildings. There are two flights of stairs. An elevator can take you up one floor, but there is still one more flight of stairs. The walkway to the observatory has a metal open lattice work floor. Stiletto heals will get stuck! The surface has been roughened to provide grip. Walking on it with bare feet would be a bad idea as it is sharp enough to cut.
What to expect
The dome can hold about 10 people at a time: 4 at the telescope and 6 lower down. Inside the dome there is a set of steps up to the observing platform. Also there is a spot where most people will need to duck. To actually look through the telescope you'll need to use a step ladder. We have a tall one for children and other shorter folks. There are a couple of hand holds to steady yourself. Of course this will be in the semi-dark. Mostly we use a red-light inside the building.
The observatory houses a veteran Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. It has a diameter of 14" (35 cm) and a focal length 161" (395 cm). These telescopes are particularly good at high magnification views of planets and some deep sky objects. The telescope is mounted on a mount that tracks the stars as they move across the sky.
Places to Get More Information
- Sky and Telescope Excellent site with news, observing highlights, sky maps, and information about astronomy. Can be customized to location
- Space Flight Now best source for up to date information about space flight and astronomy news.
- Space.com latest space news (has adds)
- Astronomy picture of the day Fabulous site with a new astronomy related picture each day, and a searchable archive of images.
- Sky Map. Good monthly maps of the sky with a guide and list of events
- Pictorial dictionary of astronomical terms. This one is good.