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The Webfooted Astronomer - June 1999


University of Washington Opens Historical Observatory to the Public

The University of Washington (UW) has one of the oldest working telescopes in the West—a lovely antique fabricated by one of the top lens makers of the past. And now the Campus Observatory is open for public stargazing.

Although the telescope is small (six inches in diameter), it delivers excellent images of the Moon, planets, and other objects that can be seen in the bright urban environment.

The Campus Observatory building, established in 1892, was one of the first buildings on the present UW campus and is on the national register of buildings with historic significance.

The Observatory is open for the benefit of UW students and the general public at no charge. An experienced tour guide operates the observatory on a volunteer basis.

The Observatory is not located in the Physics-Astronomy Building. It is on the north edge of campus, close to NE 45th Street, about 100 yards east of the Burke Museum. The observatory is surrounded by mature bushes, so it’s difficult to find unless you approach it from the parking lot east of Memorial Way and south of NE 45th St.

The Observatory is open Monday and Thursday evenings for public stargazing (weather permitting). No reservations are required unless you are bringing a large group. For group reservations, call 206-543-2888 a week in advance. Viewing times depend on the season. For more information, call the Campus Observatory Information Line at 206-543-0126.

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