Wilder Observatory

Wilder Observatory’s 18-inch refractor telescope in the glow of the red light to maintain dark adaption of our eyes for nighttime viewing

Here is an excellent example of local road tripping opportunities beginning in your own back yard. During my son’s junior college career he took an astronomy course that had a field trip to an observatory located near the campus of another college in the area. For a non-urban area, Western Massachusetts has fourteen major colleges and universities in its region with fantastic opportunities to explore their museums and unique features such as the observatory at a low cost or for free. My son was gracious enough to think of me and my appetite to explore and photograph places of interest. The Wilder Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned by Amherst College, located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was designed by the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White; renowned for such buildings as the Boston Public Library and Rhode Island State House and designing the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Wilder Observatory’s open dome and red light for nighttime viewing

When the Wilder Observatory was built in 1903, the 18-inch refractor telescope was one of the largest telescopes in the world, and it remains one of the largest refractors. The total cost of the telescope in 1903 was $12,000. The Observatory It was renovated in 2001, along with the telescope. The Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association offers observing nights at the Observatory. The observatory is free and open starting at 9 p.m. every clear Saturday, April–October. Depending on what is visible in the sky at the time, visitors may see the moon, planets, asteroids, comets, multiple stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and more through the large, world-class refractor telescope.

Text Credit: amherst.edu & Wikipedia

Wilder Observatory
Snell Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002

N 42° 21′ 56.7″ W 72° 31′ 27″

 

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