The UMass Dartmouth Observatory is a centerpiece of the Physics Department’s astronomy education and outreach program, which serves both the university and the local communities. Students who wish to pursue an exciting career in astronomy/astrophysics can take a concentration of courses in these areas while completing their physics degree at UMass Dartmouth.
The Observatory, located in the field just west of the campus entrance, was designed and built by faculty and students in the Physics and Civil Engineering Departments. It achieved “first light” in the Fall of 1992. Since the Observatory's inception, many thousands of UMass Dartmouth students and SouthCoast residents have viewed the night sky through its telescope.
To date, the Observatory has received more than $130,000 in contributions and grants from institutional and private donors in support of its educational mission. The Observatory Development Fund at the UMass Dartmouth Foundation accepts donations to sustain the Observatory’s work. Two generous donations in 1999 and 2003 from community residents Joseph and Ouida Dowd funded an extensive renovation of the facility, including a new dome and an advanced Meade 16-inch reflector telescope on a high-precision, computer-controlled Astro-Physics mount.
For more information about the observatory, to receive email notifications about our Saturday visitor nights, to make a donation to our operations, or to become an individual or corporate sponsor, please contact Prof. Alan Hirshfeld using the form on this website's CONTACT page or by calling 508-999-8715.