The Astronomy Group within the Department of Physics and Astronomy holds monthly Public Nights.  All are welcome to come view the sky through our facilities, on campus and off. Admission to Public Nights is free. Events may be cancelled in case of bad weather/cloudy conditions.

Virtual public nights during the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is unclear when we will be able to return to safely offering public in-person events.  In the mean time, Dr. Bill Keel is working with UA Astronomers and others to produce virtual public night videos that use the same telescope as our normal on-campus public nights.  Please check back for more additions

Introduction to the UA observatory

In the first of the series, astronomer Dr. Bill Keel introduces the UA Observatory and telescope, and narrates a video tour of the crescent Moon.


SARA Observatories

In the second video of the virtual viewing night series, astronomer Dr. Bill Keel introduces the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) Observatories and more!


Green Bank Telescope

In this installment of the virtual viewing night series, UA astronomers Dr. Bill Keel and Dr. Jeremy Bailin discuss radio astronomy and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope.


Crimson Dragon

In this installment of the virtual viewing night series, UA astronomer Dr. Bill Keel introduces the Crimson Dragon, the astronomy group’s remote operated imaging system.


The Moon

In this installment of the virtual viewing night series, UA astronomer Dr. Bill Keel and planetary scientist Dr. Julia Cartwright to discuss the surface and geology (selenology) of the Moon.


Giants of Summer

In this installment of the virtual viewing night series, UA astronomer Dr. Bill Keel observes Jupiter and Saturn.


The Lives of the Stars

In this installment of the virtual viewing night series, UA astronomers Dr. Bill Keel and Dr. Dean Townsley discuss the lives of stars.


More

More videos will be posted here and on our Virtual Viewing Night Vimeo Channel.


Locations and Equipment

Most on-campus sessions use the 16-inch research-grade reflector (installed in January 2005) in the dome on top of Gallalee Hall, located at the northeast corner of University Blvd. and Hackberry Drive.

Our deep-sky observing sessions use the 16″ and (recently donated) 17″ telescopes located in Moundville Archaeological Park, or the 20-inch “Big Little Telescope” recently donated to the department. The telescope is set up on a pad in the field across the road from the museum (see locator map). The park does not charge for after-hours admission for these programs.

Calendar

Our calendar shows the dates for the currently scheduled Public Nights, the starting times for the programs, and the speakers. Please pay attention to the dates; sometimes these events are held on nights other than Friday, to accommodate special events. (And occasionally, these events are held during the day.) Please also check weather forecasts before planning your trip. Weather information specifically tailored to astronomical observing is available in the clear sky clock for Tuscaloosa generated using forecasts from the Canadian Meteorology Centre.

Groups

Please call the department office at (205) 348-5050 to give us advance warning if you are bringing a large group, so we may plan accordingly.

Parking

During the fall football season, parking restrictions on campus go into effect on the evenings before home football games, including the Gallalee Hall parking lot. All vehicles must be out of that parking lot by 6 a.m. Saturday or they will be towed at their owners’ expense.

Parking is particularly tight on homecoming weekend. Be prepared to park at a lot that is several blocks or more from Gallalee Hall. The UA CrimsonRide transit system operates late into the night.

At Moundville Archaeological Park, parking is available at the museum and near the conference center overlooking the Black Warrior River. The locator map on this website shows both buildings and the spot where we set up our telescope.

For More Information

For more information, call the department office at (205) 348-5050 and ask for the faculty member in charge of the date in question. To receive advance notice of events as they are scheduled, email Karen Lynn (kmlynn@as.ua.edu) and ask to be added to our email list.

For additional skygazing opportunities in the Birmingham area, please see the Birmingham Astronomical Society schedule. Weather information specifically tailored to astronomical observing is available in the clear sky clock for Tuscaloosa generated using forecasts from the Canadian Meteorology Centre.