Located at the edge of campus between the woods and where Indiana Avenue meets 4th street, this building is the most obvious and accessible of our facilities. It houses a 0.3 meter (12 inch) refracting telescope which is staffed for free public viewing each Wednesday evening, March through November, when classes are in session. If the weather is clear, the observatory will be open shortly after sunset. No reservations are necessary.
The Kirkwood Observatory solar telescope is an instructional instrument consisting of a rooftop mounted heliostat that directs a beam of sunlight into a dedicated room. In that room, the beam is divided among several optical benches. The first produces a very large white light image of the sun that is used to view sunspots and limb darkening. Next is a spectrograph to examine the spectral colors and absorption lines. Third, a hydrogen-alpha image of the sun is displayed on a TV screen so that prominances, flares, and other active regions can be studied. A spare optical bench can be used for special experiments on the solar spectrum or image.
Kirkwood Observatory has a solar telescope with which solar phenomena can be studied.