The Salem State University Collins Observatory

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Observatory Status: Good news folks, we are being allowed to reopen Collins Observatory for now, though the roof repairs aren’t quite finished yet. Therefore Collins Observatory will be open on Monday, January 14, 2019. When you come up for a visit, please hold on to the handrails whenever possible, as the aggregate blocks are not down yet, making stepping abruptly higher, or lower, depending upon where you step, and it can get slippery on the roof without them. Also, try not to roam around on the roof too much, as the roof is more easily damaged without the blocks to protect it, and please dress warmly, as it will be very cold up on the roof. As a note, we will be closed next Monday, January 21, 2019, as the university is closed in the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will reopen on Monday, January 28, 2019, weather permitting. 

Please check back on this site for any changes or updates in the future.

Collins Observatory is normally open on CLEAR, or MOSTLY CLEAR Mondays from 7-10 PM, or later depending upon the time of sunset. We’re open during the school year from September to May, and are closed on school holidays, when the school is on vacation, and during the summer. It is also available for special group visits during the year.

The observatory houses a Meade 12-inch LX-200 ACF telescope, which does fairly well in the light polluted skies over Salem.

Please call the observatory at 978-542-6452, if you’re coming from a distance, as the weather is a bit unstable this close to the ocean.

Notes:

What’s up tonight?

  • The winter constellations rule the evening, which means that the Orion Nebula (M42) will once again be one of the best deep sky objects visible in the night sky.
  • If the weather cooperates, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible starting on Sunday evening, January 20, 2019, and ending early on Monday morning, January 21, 2019, called the Super Wolf Blood Moon. The moon will enter the penumbra, or outer shadow about 9:36 PM, and leave the outer shadow around 2:48 AM. It will enter the umbra, or inner shadow around 10:33 PM, enter totality around 11:41 PM, leave totality around 12:43 AM, and leave the inner shadow around 1:50 AM.
  • Mars has dimmed back down and looks more like a regular star, and will dim further in the future. However, it is still easily seen in binoculars or small telescopes as a small dot.
  • Uranus and Neptune should also visible as twilight ends, and the observing conditions permit.

Visit: Map
Located on Rt. 114, ( Lafayette St. ) in Salem, MA. Parking is improving – we suggest you attempt to use the new parking garage in the lower student parking lot, or the street, which is RT. 114, in front of Meier Hall. Meier Hall is the second building from the faculty parking area “A”, and next to the school theater. Enter through the front door on RT. 114. Go down the hall to the back of the building and take a left. There is an elevator about thirty feet down from there on your right. Go on the elevator and press floor “P” (sixth floor). Turn right upon leaving the elevator. Turn left after the double hall doors and go out the glass doors to the roof. Take the stairs on the left to the observatory.

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A non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.