Astronomy Events | Physics | SIU | Night Sky Network

Southern Illinois University



College of Science


Public Astronomy Observations

The SIU Physics Department hosts several free public observations a year on our observation deck on top of the Neckers building. Most observations are on evenings when light pollution on campus is at a minimum. We typically observe bright sky objects such as the Moon, major planets, star clusters, nebula and some deep sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy. All observations are weather dependent and space limited. The observation deck is not handicap accessible, however we can arrange for telescopes to be setup at ground level for individuals not able to take stairs to the obsevation deck.   If you have a large group or other special needs, please contact the event coordinator to let them know in advance.  Children accompanied by adults are welcome. For up to the minute event info and online disucssion, see the physics department FaceBook event info page:

Observation Schedule

Fall 2017

Sunday, Sept 17, 7:30pm - 9pm.

Free public astronomy observation hosted by the SIU Carbondale Physics Department at the Neckers observation deck. Visible this evening: Jupiter (setting early), Saturn, Ring Nebula. The observation will include a presentation on the night sky. Children accompanied by adults are welcome.

Additional dates TBA

Alternate / Special Observations

Campus and community groups can arrange special observation on campus, or we can bring telescopes to you. To make arrangements, contact Bob Baer at 618-453-2729,

Observation Deck and Telescopes

Meade 10

The observation deck is 624 square feet in size. It is built out of 2" thick rubber matting for vibration isolation. The primary telescope is a 14" Meade LX600. This computer guided telescope is used for all observation events as well as the lab portion of PHYS 103 (Astronomy). Several additional scopes are setup for observations as needed including Celestron 8" SCTs, a Coronado SolarMax II, and a Stelarvue SV105 Raptor (105mm refractor).



Stellarvue SV105 Raptor

Previous Event Photos

Solar TelescopeJune 5, 4:00pm - 10:30 pm. Special daytime solar observation - Transit of Venus. If you missed the transit, you can see photos of the event here. Special thanks to the Astronomical Association of Southern Illinois as well as all the people who turned out and helped out on the day of the event.

What Can You See?

Moon and Saturn

The most spectacular viewing is of the Moon and major planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. On clear nights, you can easily see the rings of Saturn and detailed striations on Jupiter. Brighter objects such as the Great Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy and several clusters are also visible visually.

Dimmer deep sky objects are typically only visible during evenings with low humidity and not much cloud cover.  On select night, deep sky cameras are utilized to display images of objects otherwise not visible though visual observations.