Oberlin College Observatory

Oberlin College
Peters Hall
50 North Professor Street
Oberlin, OH 44074-1091

Photo: Rooftop telescopes and the vintage dome of Oberlin.
Rooftop telescopes and the vintage dome of the observatory.

Residing within a 30-foot copper-skinned dome (ca. 1929) atop Peters Hall is the Oberlin College Observatory, the centerpiece of a burgeoning astronomy program. The original telescope at Oberlin College was a 6 1/8-inch aperture, weight-driven refractor made by the William Gaertner Company of Chicago. The Gaertner telescope was traded for a Celestron 11, about 1991, and moved to Yerkes for refurbishment. Eventually it was presented to a private owner in Colorado. Today the main telescope is a C-14 on a Losmandy GM-200 mount with digital setting circles. Portable scopes, out on an observing deck, include a C-11 on a Tuthill Isostatic mount, and five C-8s. In the works: one 6-inch f/5 Synta (“Skywatcher”) refractor on an EQ-6 mount also from Synta, and an SBIG ste digital camera for astro-imaging. On the observing deck are piers for the Synta and the C-8s. The Observatory hosts regular public nights; visit the Observatory’s Web site (link above) for their current schedule.

The college also boasts Taylor Planetarium which was completed late in 2000. Astronomy students are able to study the stars day or night regardless of the weather. The planetarium is in the tower below the observatory. The Goto projector can represent 650 stars to magnitude 5.5 along with the major planets complimented by a slide projector and a digital projector.

Oberlin College Photo

Peters Hall, Oberlin College Observatory. Photo by James Guilford
Peters Hall and Oberlin College Observatory ca. 1885

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