The Crow Observatory
The Crow Observatory is open to the Washington University community on clear evenings, Monday through Thursday, during the fall and spring semesters. When we are on standard time, the open hours are 7:00 - 10:00 pm. When we are on daylight saving time the hours are 8:00 - 10:00 pm. Visitors can check here or phone 314-935-6278 during viewing hours to see if the Observatory is open.
PLEASE NOTE: The Crow Observatory is currently closed due to the pandemic.
The location is atop Crow Hall near the northeast corner of the WU Danforth Campus. You can enter the building through the south door, then go up the stairs and follow the signs. Admission is free, and members of the campus and local community are welcome. Groups numbering seven or more, or anyone who has special requirements, must make advance reservations by calling 314-935-6276 during the day.
Acquired by Washington University in 1863, the telescope has an aperture of 6 inches and is high quality even though it is small by present-day standards. The observatory was originally on 18th Street in St. Louis, before the University moved to the Danforth campus after the 1904 World's Fair. Until 1950, the observatory stood west of Crow Hall. It was then closed and a new dome was constructed in the present location in 1954.
Tyson Research Center is a 2,000-acre environmental field station owned and operated by Washington University in St. Louis. Tyson provides opportunities for environmental research and education for students and faculty from Washington University and beyond. Infrastructure and programs facilitate multi-scale research and teaching opportunities and collaboration across disciplines, institutions, and levels of academic training. In the middle of the heavily wooded property, we located a clearing suitable to place the observatory. The sky is visible to within 30 degrees of the horizon in all directions, and the site is quite dark with no direct light and only relatively faint light from St. Louis in the distance.
The telescope consists of a 14 inch Celestron C-14 on a Takashashi NJP mount on a stainless steel pier to be permanently installed in a Prodome PD10 fiberglass dome. The focal plane instrumentation consists of an Optek MAXFILTER 2" filter changer (to house an imaging polarimeter) an Optek TCF-S temperature compensating focuser, a FLI CFW-2 filter wheel with RGB and other filters, followed by an FLI CM7-1E CCD camera. The camera uses a Kodak blue-plus CCD and includes a high-speed USB-2 interface. An SBIG STV camera and e-finder lens is used as an autoguider.
Tyson Research Center is located in St. Louis County, approximately 20 miles southwest of St. Louis, at the Beaumont-Antire exit (Exit #269) off I-44.