Rooftop Observatory

rooftop of Thompson Physical Laboratory

Hopkins Telescope
The Hopkins Observatory 24-inch telescope

Faculty and students of Williams College’s astronomy department do their research with the most modern equipment in the field, using some of the best telescopes on Earth and in space. Our local observatory, situated atop the Thompson Physical Laboratory, is used for both teaching and research, and includes:

  • a recently upgraded 24-inch Cassegrain telescope (manufactured by DFM Engineering, Inc.) equipped with a 4096 x 4096 pixel CCD main imaging camera (FLI, Inc.) and a wide range of optical filters
  • a recently-overhauled Optomechanics Model 10 spectrograph with a 120 x 2048 pixel CCD camera (FLI, Inc.)
  • a remotely-operated 4-inch Stellarvue apochromatic refractor and color CCD camera for wide field imaging
  •  a 6-inch Meade apochromatic refractor for visual observing and planetary imaging.

A view inside the observatory dome shows the telescopes available to students. Additional instruments include a Lunt LS60T H-alpha telescope for viewing the Sun, 3- and 8-inch aperture Celestron telescopes, and a direct-view solar spectroscope. We also maintain a network of Apple computers to support observing, and other instructional and research needs. The rooftop observatory is supervised and maintained by Dr. Kevin Flaherty.