Department of Chemistry & Physics
The SWOSU Observatory is located northeast of Weatherford on Lawter Road between Deer Creek Road and Airport Road. The facilities are used for regular viewing sessions scheduled in conjunction with SWOSU's Astronomy course each semester. Other viewing sessions are held by arrangement only.
The observatory houses a 16-inch Cassegrain-focus telescope on an equatorial mount. The 16-inch-diameter objective mirror makes it possible to view many dim and distant objects which are invisible to the naked eye and to binoculars and smaller telescopes. With the rotating dome and a slot opening of over 90o, views of the entire sky in 360o are attained. Computer control allows for rapid aiming of the telescope to view any object that is above the horizon. An additional 8-inch Cassegrain telescope equipped to accept a camera mount is piggy-backed to the system. The equatorial mount with clock drive corrects for the Earth's rotation (which makes the stars seem to move from east to west) and eliminates the "smearing" of images on long-time photographic exposures.
Outside the dome, a fenced patio serves as a wind-sheltered location for additional telescope, binocular, and naked-eye viewing. Students and visitors are guided through a wide-angle view of the skies that is not possible from within the dome.