Blog Archives

How Do They Make Those Telescopes So Big?

Telescopes gather light, and that light conveys information about distant and dim objects.  The more light the instrument gathers, the more information is conveyed.  And the bigger the telescope, the more light you can gather. If you are of a

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes

Shopping for a Telescope?

When you are an “astronomy guy”, around this time of year you get inquiries from friends looking to buy a telescope as a Christmas present. Often this is for a child or a grandchild, but sometimes the friend is shopping

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes

How to Point a Telescope

It was a lot simpler in Galileo’s day. Up and down, left and right, manually controlled—simple, right? Yes, but simpler was not always better, at least until computers came along. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There are two issues

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes Tagged with: , ,

Where Do You Build An Observatory?

On a crisp Bedford County day in early 2007, I walked slowly around a ridge in the middle of a cleared field at Lynchburg College’s Claytor Nature Study Center. The ridge was the highest point on the property, but I

Posted in Lynchburg College, Observatory and Telescopes Tagged with:

My Favorite Things

“What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen through a telescope?” People who know—or who learn—that I taught astronomy and was the director of an observatory with a half-meter telescope often ask questions like this. Variations on the theme include “What’s

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes, Sky Phenomena Tagged with:

Calling All Astronomy Fans!

This is directed toward those of you who live in or near Lynchburg, as you will soon see. Our public outreach program at the observatory could not operate without the time and talents volunteered by our two dozen or so

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes

Are Those Colors For Real?

Today’s Astronomy News is more technical than lyrical, but if you have ever wondered about the colors shown in astronomical images, dive right in! Introduction One of my very favorite web sites is NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (,

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes


One of the many things we have learned from doing more than a year of public outreach events at the observatory is that there are some celestial sights guaranteed to evoke the “wow!” reaction from our guests. The first sight

Posted in Observatory and Telescopes, Stars