Welcome to the UVa-Wise Observatory Web Site
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 Aug 21
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path (that includes Wise, VA) will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.
Safely Viewing an Eclipse
Do not, at any time, look directly at the Sun. You might be tempted, but even a partially eclipsed Sun can cause permanent eye damage. Be the smart one here. Don’t stack multiple pairs of sunglasses on your head and think you’re good!
If you plan to watch the eclipse from Wise, VA, MAKE SURE YOU NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN, you need to wear special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” .
More about safety viewing an eclipse at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/faq
About the Observatory
UVA-Wise Observatory represents one of the best science resources that our college has. Located in the upper, northeastern part of our beautiful campus, the new observatory offers an amazing opportunity to students, school gro
es and interested local citizens to see the wonders of the universe through the perspective of a telescope.
Telescopes are not just “buckets” that collect light, offering brighter images of celestial objects, but they are also “time machines”, allowing observers to see distant sources of light, as they were hundreds or hundreds of millions of years ago.
Local students and school kids, or interested people from the community can satisfy their scientific curiosity and passion for astronomy by visiting the UVA-Wise Observatory: planets and their moons, stars and deep sky objects (clusters of stars, galaxies and nebulae) are relatively easy accessibl
e to observe.
Motivating students, proving that natural sciences are meaningful and relevant for their lives is one of our most important missions, as educators - and the night observations of the sky are a wonderful way to stimulate and raise the interest in science.
With the decommissioning of the old telescope as part of the Science Center renovation, a decision was made to build a
stand-alone observatory on a darker part of the campus. Building a new observatory allowed us to install a 40 cm diameter, Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The new telescope was installed and became operational in early 2012.
The observatory features a dome housing the main telescope, an observation platform equipped with six piers for mounting smaller telescopes, and a single-story, three-room storage building. The observation deck can be illuminated by two different sets of low exterior bollard light fixtures, some white, some red. The building complex has no connection to the utility grid and operates totally from a battery bank that is re-charged by a solar array. No current water or bathrooms are available on the site.