• Photo by Shelley Dormont ‘11

Southwestern University’s “Fountainwood Observatory Public Nights” is a popular community event that has attracted more than 12,000 visitors since its inception in 1997. The Southwestern Physics Department hosts the series and looks forward to giving guests a tour of the starry sky.

“The public night allows them to directly experience the cosmos by looking directly at things through telescopes,” says Dr. Mark Bottorff, director of the Fountainwood Observatory. “It gives them an opportunity to be awestruck by nature without leaving Georgetown.”

The following events are free and open to the public:  

  • February 4, 2017 (Saturday): 8–10:30 p.m.

  • March 4, 2017 (Saturday): 8–10:30 p.m. 

  • May 19, 2017 (Friday) with a rain date of May 20, 2017 (Saturday): from dusk forward. — Department Sunset Movie Series.

A variety of telescopes will be available to explore the bright constellations laced with star clusters and nebulae wheel overhead. Physics Department faculty and talented observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club (WCAC) will also be on hand.

“Mark, his students and the WCAC members are excellent at explaining the science of what an individual sees in the sky or through the eyepiece in a way that is entertaining and informative at the same time,” says David Ault, a member of the WCAC.

The Observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field. Parking is available along Southwestern Boulevard, behind the Corbin J. Robertson Center.

Please note there are not water fountains or restrooms nearby. For important updates, or in the event of inclement weather, visit southwestern.edu/offices/observatory or call the Fountainwood Observatory Hotline at (512) 863-1242.