July 14, 2020
Kenyon has updated its plans for returning to campus, offering in-person and remote instruction. Read more here.
Originally constructed in the fall of 1993, Kenyon's Miller Observatory was relocated in November, 2004, to a dark-sky site on property owned by the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College.
Atop a hill just outside Gambier to the northwest, the relocated observatory enjoys clear, low horizons from the northeast through the southwest, as well as moderately low horizons to the west and north. At an elevation of about 1060 ft, the observatory is above the ground fog level on most summer nights (unlike at its previous location), providing better access to clear summer skies for student observing projects. Coincident with the move, the observatory acquired a new Paramount ME robotic telescope drive system, restoring computer pointing ability to the Celestron C-14 optical tube assembly and improving telescope tracking performance for astrophotography and CCD astronomy. Equipped with two SBIG CCD cameras, one for imaging with an Optec electronic focuser and filter wheel and SBIG AO-7 closed-loop guiding system and one for spectroscopy with an SBIG SGS slit spectrometer, recent physics students have pursued projects including nebula imaging, asteroid and variable star light curves, and photometric studies of atmospheric extinction at the observatory. Students in our introductory astronomy courses use the C-14 telescope as well as a set of 8-inch Celestron telescopes in doing lab exercises throughout the semester, and visitors to the observatory enjoy telescopic views of sights ranging from the Moon and bright planets such as Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn to distant star clusters and gaseous nebulae.