AU Press Releases

Alfred University's Stull Observatory open to public

Alfred University’s Stull Observatory is now open to the public on Thursday evenings from 10 p.m. to midnight. There is no charge for the supervised use of the observatory telescopes, although the university requests large groups call 607-871-2208 during daytime working hours to advise appropriate individuals of upcoming visits.

 Stull Observatory is named for the late Alfred University Professor John Stull, who helped established the facility in 1966. The observatory complex, topped with iconic domes, houses seven telescopes with lens ranging in size from eight inches to 32 inches. The largest of the seven telescopes, an Austin-Fellows 32-inch Newtonian Reflector, is tied with a telescope on the Vassar College campus for the rank of second-largest optical telescope in New York state.  

Alfred University uses the telescopes for students studying astronomy and astrophysics, as well as for visitors who want to enjoy images of the heavens through observatory-quality optical systems.

The University’s astronomy classes over the years have used a variety of observatories and telescopes, dating back to 1863 when the astronomer William Rogers teamed with the American optician Henry Fitz to donate a nine-inch refractor scope to AU. The observatory in which that telescope was housed was torn down in the 1920’s and the telescope placed in storage until the 1950’s, when a young Professor John Stull began teaching physics for Alfred University. Stull spearheaded the use of numerous telescopes located in different areas of the campus until, in 1966, he and the university organized and oversaw the construction of a modern observatory. Several subsequent iterations of observatory facilities have evolved before the current Stull Observatory was constructed.