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The Kirkwood Observatory combines both history and science at the campus of Indiana University. Under its dome the observatory houses a .03 meter refracting telescope that is open to be viewed by the public every Wednesday after sunset from March through November. The observatory's solar telescope


The observatory was built in 1901 and was named after Daniel Kirkwood, a renowned astronomer and Indiana University maths professor who had died only a few years before.  At the time the observatory's telescope was only twelve inches, considered then as the height of technology.  The Kirkwood Observatory quickly became a leader in the nation in the field of astronomy.  Its scientists conducted groundbreaking research on comets, meteors, astroids, and visual binary stars.  In 1907, Wilbur A. Cogshall was named Director of the Kirkwood Observatory.  He set up an optical shop in the basement of the observatory, which he used to create eight, twelve, and twenty-four inch refractors for the telescope.  This proved instrumental in the taking of photographs of the famous Halley's Comet, as well as other comets.  

The building was renovated in 2001, and though the telescope is no longer used for scientific research, it is still used for educational purposes.  Free viewings through the telescope are offered on Wednesday evenings, and special group showings are available by scheduling an appointment with the Department of Astronomy.  Open houses for the solar telescope are often held every second Saturday.    

"Kirkwood Observatory Information." Astronomy Department, Indiana University Bloomington. Accessed on July 31, 2016. http://www.astro.indiana.edu/kirkwoodinfo.shtm