The Observatory

"For every space...Is visionary...And every space...opens...into Eternity." -William Blake

Come wander with me, she said,
Into regions yet untrod;
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The Gettysburg College Observatory is located at the northwest edge of the Gettysburg College campus. It sits beyond the West Building and the Center for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness, just below Gettysburg's famed Seminary Ridge.

The Observatory dome houses a 16-inch f/11 computer controlled Ealing Cassegrain reflector, which is run from an adjacent "warm room." The telescope drive and observatory control system, built in 1996 by Astronomical Consultants and Equipment(ACE) of Tucson, Arizona, provides full computer control of the dome, telescope, and filter box. 

The observatory is used for imaging and for photometry of variable stars, and individual observing carts that contain dedicated PCs are used at each observing station.

Equipment includes:

  • Ealing 16-inch Cassegrain telescope, a research quality instrument. The telescope is equipped with a sensitive CCD camera Photometrics thermoelectrically cooled CH350 CCD camera with a back-illuminated SITE 003B 1024 x 1024 chip and a computerized photoelectric photometer, making it possible to take pictures of faint celestial objects and store them on computer disks.
  • Six Meade telescopes
    • Three 8-inch LX200 - Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, one 10-inch GPS LX200 telescope, one 8-inch GPS LX200 telescope and one7-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope.
    • Meade telescopes are equipped with small CCD cameras (ST6, ST-7 and Lynxx-PC) that can be "wheeled" around or mounted on concrete piers located next to the observatory.
    • 3.1 meter Haystack Small Radio Telescope (SRT).
  • A classroom adjacent to the dome contains workspace and a collection of maps and charts of the skies to help in preparation for observing.

Equipment is available for use by astronomy students and those in advanced physics and astronomy labs.  Students may call the "Astro Hotline" at 717-337-6031 to check the Observatory schedule.  In addition, there are several volunteer opportunities at the Observatory each year. If you are interested, contact Dr. Marschall.

More information about the Observatory and astronomical research at Gettysburg College.