The Salem State University Collins Observatory




Observatory Status: Well, we’re right on the edge of a storm front again, but I think that I’ll open Collins Observatory tonight, Monday, April 24, 2017, for as long as I can. If you’re new to Salem State University, or haven’t been up to the observatory before, check us out when we open. We’re on the roof of Meier Hall. Please keep in mind that the temperatures are generally colder in the dome than at ground level, so please dress appropriately. Note: Monday, May 8, 2017 will be the last opening of the observatory until the fall of 2017. We will try to perform some much needed repairs to the telescope and dome during the summer.

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.


What’s up tonight?

  • Mars is very low in the western sky at sunset, and is pretty mucht lost in the twilight now, but may still visible when we open. This will be the last time that you’ll see it in the early evening sky this year.
  • April will also be the last month that we will be able to see the Orion Nebula (M42) in the constellation of Orion, as it is now moving into the evening twilight. It will not be visible from the observatory again until later next fall. So see it while you still can. If you have binoculars or a small telescope, look for the three stars that make up Orion’s sword below the three stars in his belt. You’ll find that the star in the middle of the sword is actually a nebula (or a fuzzy object).
  • Massive Jupiter dominates the sky for the rest of this spring.
  • Saturn makes its appearance just before midnight now, but will rise earlier as the summer goes on. We should get a quick glimpse of it when we reopen next fall.

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.

Club Merchandise!

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