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Hawk - Big moments in the woods

BIG moments in the woods

Our Telescopes and Observatory

black telescope

Maybe you want to take a close-up look at the moons of Jupiter, which are only 365 million miles from Earth. Or perhaps you'd like to re-imagine the famous images of man walking on the Moon, with a realistic look of your own at its many interesting shadows and craters. Or maybe the star cluster Pleiades, the "Seven Sisters," are of interest.

Ensuring the future of night sky exploration for students and faculty members from URI's Department of Physics and clients of the W. Alton Jones campus, we are proud to showcase our new telescopes and new observatory.

Our 8-inch and 10-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain LX200 telescopes are perfect for experienced and amateur astronomers alike. Enabled with GPS technology and the Meade AutoStar controller, the telescopes use their current location and time to "take" viewers to such pre-programmed targets in the sky as the Moon and Solar System, assortments of star clusters, galaxies and nebulae that lie beyond.

The 8-inch telescope is mounted inside the new 15-foot diameter PRO-DOME™ fiberglass observatory, designed for group uses and special observing needs. The dome rotates 180 degrees in any direction to give the telescope a complete view of the night sky. Its center height of 8'6" is ideal for both adults and children, and the shelter itself provides protection from the elements during the winter months when night sky viewing is often at its best. The telescope itself is mounted on vibrationally-isolated concrete pier, making long-exposure guided photography and CCD imaging possible.

dome-shaped telescope enclosure

Perfectly located at the Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve on the W. Alton Jones campus, with expansive and dark views of the southern and western night sky, the telescope installation is a joint project of the W. Alton Jones Campus and the URI Physics Department. The nearby Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve building offers ideal space for meetings, classes or assemblies.

The telescopes are already enriching the night sky viewing experience of our summer campers, area school children, adult conference groups. More expansive programming for URI students is planned as the URI Physics Department develops more night sky programming. We also envision adding our telescopes to the state's network of telescopes open to the public for night sky programs.

For information on supporting our telescopes and observatory, download our PDF about giving opportunities.

upcoming events

First Light at Night

Join us for the official first lighting and dedication of our two new telescopes and observatory.

First Light invitation

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
7-9 pm, rain or shine
Free and open to the public

Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve at the W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich, RI

Register by November 9. Space is limited.

Weather permitting, additional activities include night sky viewing, astronomy chat and constellation folklore by the campfire, nighttime adventure hike and more. Dress for the outdoors and bring a flashlight.

If you have a disability and need an accommodation, please call 401.874.9455 at least three business days in advance. For TTY assistance, please call the R.I. Relay Service at 1.800.745.5555.

Alton Jones Campus In the News

You're not the only one who's had some big moments at the W. Alton Jones campus. See what others are saying about the impact this unexpected campus has made in their lives.

The Naturalist revisits, pays homage to URI's W. Alton Jones campus.

Here's a story about the bat colony that's helping identify a disease that is wiping out bats in the Eastern U.S.

And another bat story.

Here's a fun history story we published in our alumni magazine, QuadAngles.

The Westerly Sun wrote a great piece about our summer camps.