The University of St. Thomas Physics Department Observatory exists to facilitate an understanding of and appreciation for the process of modern scientific investigation and how critical thinking uncovers nature’s mysteries.  Observatory programs actively engage participants in the process of discovery and include UST science and non-science students, education majors, primary and secondary teachers, and the community.

Articles about the UST Observatory

The University of St. Thomas (UST) Observatory is an educational facility integrated into UST's undergraduate curriculum as well as the curriculum of several local schools. Three characteristics combine to make the observatory unique. First, the telescope is tied directly to the support structure of a four-story parking ramp instead of an isolated pier. Second, the facility can be operated remotely. Third, the facility is located in the heart of a metropolitan area where the light pollution is severe.
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Astronomy is one of those topics that naturally generates enthusiasm. Contemplating the sheer scale of the universe and our place in it is a truly humbling and awe-inspiring experience. The teacher in me [Gerry] loves to use that moment when a student or a visitor is rapt, that moment when they are looking into space saying, "Wow! What is that thing?" I tell them not only what the object is but how we, mankind, tiny creatures stuck to a speck, came to understand the nature of space.
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UST Physics Department Observatory Technical Specifications

Type PlaneWave CDK 17
Aperture 17 inch (432mm)
Focal Length 115.71 inches (2939 mm)
Focal Ratio F/6.8
Optical Performance 6.5 micron rms spot at 21mm off central axis


Type SBIG STL-11000M
Filter Wheel SBIG FW8-STL 8 position
Filters UBVRI Photometry filters
LRGB Color balanced imaging filters
H-alpha, O III, S II narrow band
Array Size 4008x2672 pixels
36x24.7 mm
Pixel Size 9x9 micron
Plate Scale (On the CDK 17) 0.63 arcseconds/pixel
Field of View 0.70x0.47 degrees


Other Information
Magnitude Limit 17.4 (SNR=3 in 1 minute exposure)
Typical Seeing 2.0 to 3.0 arcseconds