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EIU Department of Physics

EIU Observatory

50 Telescope 1 edit Big Scope 2


The Eastern Illinois University Observatory was completed in 2004 with funds donated by alumni and friends. This observatory houses a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that is computer controlled for both positioning and data acquisition. It is located in a dark field on campus which makes it both accessible and useful. The observatory now has additional capabilities with a second dome that houses a solar telescope. This means that the observatory can be used day and night (in clear weather) for education or research. The director of the observatory is Dr. Robert Strausbaugh. The observatory can be used for classes, research, and community outreach. Open houses are usually held on the last Friday of each month of the Fall and Spring semesters when EIU is in session (rainy or clear, hot or cold weather). Click here for a map and directions to the observatory. It is recommended to park at the Eastern Illinois University W Lot on 4th Street.

Dr. Pakey - Observatory Director (retired)
  Eclipse Day Telescope Field
On Eclipse Day, the observatory was THE place to be on campus.



Bob 32-inch Telescope
Bob Holmes - Director of ARI
Observatory 2 domes
EIU Observatory

Astronomical Research Institute

The Astronomy capabilities of EIU do not stop with the observatory. EIU has a collaboration with the Astronomical Research Institute. This is a facility, about 10 miles east of campus (for even darker skies), that has a 24” telescope, a 30” telescope, a 32” telescope, and a 50” telescope.

The 50” telescope is the largest privately owned telescope in the world! The Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) tracks asteroids known as Near Earth Objects (NEO). These are asteroids that have orbits that pass within the orbit of the Earth (and so could possibly impact the Earth at some point). ARI has provided more than half of the world’s data on tracking NEOs. ARI is a part of Skynet and that network makes it possible for EIU students to utilize telescopes from around the world for student-faculty projects.

Telescopes in Chicago as well as Chile have been used by our students. EIU students, working with ARI, have discovered asteroids in the course of their work. Researchers from ARI are Adjunct Professors at EIU and collaborate regularly with our students and faculty.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Physics Department

Physical Sciences Building Room 2131
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3220

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