College Observatory

College Observatory

The SUNY Oneonta College Observatory is located at College Camp on the northeastern side of campus in Oneonta, New York. The Observatory has several large computer-controlled telescopes and numerous other smaller portable telescopes. Currently the observatory is used in the upper-level astronomy series taught by the Department of Physics & Astronomy--in particular, Astronomy 270 (Our Solar System), Astronomy 271 (Stars and Galaxies), and Astronomy 360 (Observational Methods). The facilities are also available for independent research projects by upper-level astronomy students. We also host observing nights that are open to the public, where people can view astronomical objects such as planets, star clusters, planetary nebulae and galaxies through the eyepieces.

The Observatory is home to the largest optical telescope in the state of New York, a computerized f/4 Newtonian reflector with a 1-meter (40-inch) primary mirror. The telescope, designated the NTT-40, was constructed by JMI Telescopes of Lakewood, Colorado; technical information can be found at the JMI NTT-40 webpage. In addition we have two observatory domes housing 16-inch and 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, several smaller Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, and seven sheds housing 4-inch refractor telescopes. The observatory is equipped with a variety of eyepieces, several electronic CCD cameras, an adaptive optics unit and a spectrograph. Among the collection of SBIG CCD cameras there is a research-grade SBIG CCD camera equipped with a filter wheel. Available filter sets include the RGBCL set used for amateur astrophotography as well as the Johnson-Cousins UBVRI and SDSS ugriz standard filter sets. Narrow-band H-alpha and O III filters are also available.

Public Access and Outreach

Public Observing Nights at SUNY Oneonta College Observatory
We host observing nights, which are open to the general public, approximately every month throughout the year. On these nights, our 40-inch telescope, 16-inch and 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes are opened for viewing, as well as a pair of giant binoculars for wide-angle viewing. Often, some of our astronomy students or members of the community will bring their telescopes as well, turning the event into a miniature star party.

Please see the calendar for the schedule of public observing nights. Please bear in mind that due to the frequent cloudy or inclement weather in upstate New York, many observing nights will inevitably be canceled.

We have created a mailing list through which you can receive updates about the status of upcoming public observatory nights. To add your name to this list, simply send an email to with the words "sub PUBLIC-OBSERV" in the main body of the email. You will then receive an email asking you to confirm your request, and once you have confirmed this then you will be added. Email updates will be sent out roughly one day in advance of the event and then again the evening of the event.

If you need any other information, please contact the campus astronomer, or Sheila Birkett (Sheila.Birkett -at-

Calendar for Public Observing Nights

Group Visits to the Observatory
Visits to the SUNY Oneonta Observatory are offered for small groups of interested people such as scout troups, community groups, etc. We also offer a limited number of observing nights and/or planetarium shows for specific classes. Please contact the campus astronomer, or Sheila Birkett (Sheila.Birkett -at- for details.

College Camp Driving Directions
The SUNY Oneonta College Observatory is located at College Camp which is a few miles northeast of campus. For a map and directions to College Camp and the SUNY Oneonta campus, click on the link below.