- 9 February, 2015: observatory night for the Child Development
Center 4-year old class.
- We are hoping to raise funds to construct a new observatory
facility. The plan is to purchase two pre-fab buildings (one
roll-off roof structure, and one small dome). We are considering
changing the location of the observatory, perhaps moving it to a
more convenient site near Frost Chapel.
- Our old Celestron 14 inch SCT has been refurbished with a new
corrector plate. We aren't sure when we will get this telescope set
up. It may need to wait for a new observatory building.
Pew Observatory is located on the campus of Berry College in Mount
Berry, GA. The original construction and outfitting of the
observatory was funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts in
1988. The main building is a roll-off roof structure, a design
commonly used for amateur observatories. Pew Observatory is used for
a variety of astronomy-related events throughout the year.
- Director: Todd Timberlake
- Assistant Director: Kalen Maloney
- Latitude: 34.313 degrees North
- Longitude: 85.247 degrees West
Berry College is home to a variety of astronomical activities, including:
Please be aware that all of these events are highly weather
dependent. Events may be cancelled on short notice if the skies are
- Astronomy courses: Berry College typically offers one
introductory astronomy course each regular semester. Night labs for
these are held at the Pew Observatory twice each semester.
- Group Observatory Visits: We host visiting groups at the observatory for
both daytime and nighttime events. Daytime events (usually for
younger children) feature sunspot viewing and using shadows to track
the motion of the sun. Nighttime events include telescope viewing
and a tour of the constellations. If you would like to schedule a
visit, contact Dr. Todd
- Star Parties: Star parties are open to anyone in the
Berry community: students, staff, faculty, and friends of the
college. Star parties usually include telescope viewing and a tour
of the constellations. Star parties may also be scheduled for
special events like a meteor shower, a transit of the
International Space Station, or viewing a comet. We try to hold three star parties each
semester. Star parties may be held at the Pew Observatory or in the
Clara Bowl near the Ford Buildings.
- Solar System Trail: The Viking Solar System Trail is a
one-billion-to-one scale model of the solar system painted onto the
Viking Trail, a hike/bike trail that runs from the Main Campus of
Berry College to the Mountain Campus. The trail is open to
off-campus visitors during daylight hours. Click
here for more information about the Viking Solar System Trail.
- Sunspot Viewing: Once or twice each semester we offer the
Berry community the chance to safely view sunspots. Sunspot
viewings are usually held in front of Krannert Hall.
- Astrophotography: We are trying to start a program in
astrophotography for interested Berry students. We are still in the
very early phases of this project.
The observatory is located on the Mountain Campus of Berry
College. The observatory buildings are on a small hill just off of
the dirt road that runs between the Gunby Equine Center and the
Possum Trot Church. Access to this road is controlled by a gate
that is closed after 8PM, except when there is a public event at the
Click here for a PDF with
detailed directions to the observatory.
The list below details the main equipment used at the observatory. At
any given time some of this equipment may be out of service for
maintenance or repair work.
- Meade 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on a Meade Goto
mount with GPS capability. The images below show the 14-inch Meade. In the right image you can
see that the telescope is pointed at Venus.
- Astro-physics 155 mm Starfire EDFS apochromatic refractor on an
Astro-physics 600E equatorial mount. The images below show the Starfire. In the right image you can
see that the telescope is pointed at Venus.
- Celestron 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on a Losmandy
Titan German equatorial mount. This telescope was
recently repaired and has not yet been remounted. The image below
shows the telescope in operation before its repair.
- Three Celestron 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. One of
these is mounted on a Celestron CG-5 computerized mount. The other
two are mounted on manually operated wedge-mounts.
- Orion SkyQuest XT8 8-inch Dobsonian telescope.
- Canon T2i digital SLR camera, modified to remove the filter that
blocks infrared light.
- Orion StarShoot autoguider.
- A variety of 1.25-inch and 2-inch eyepieces.
- A variety of filters, including solar filters, filters for the
T2i camera, and colored filters for eyepieces.
We are in the early stages of creating a program of astrophotography
at Berry College. At this time we are still working on autoguiding,
as well as image processing. However, we have taken some unguided
images of relatively bright objects that require only short exposure
times. We also got some excellent images of the 2012 Venus transit. More information and images are available on the following
Todd K. Timberlake (firstname.lastname@example.org)