Students and community can enjoy a night under the stars at the LU Astronomical Observatory

Astronomical Observatory

Offering you the moon — or at least a closer look at it — the Liberty University Astronomical Observatory has a view of the night sky that’s hard to beat. 

Just a little over five miles from campus, the observatory gives you a closer look at moons, planets, nebulae, galaxies, and more. Study space with telescopes ranging from 8 inches to 24 — the biggest in the region.

Steve Dutkus, a senior mathematics major at Liberty and a student worker at the observatory, said he enjoys showing people what’s out there and helping some find a new interest or hobby.

One of his favorite things was seeing one of Jupiter’s moons cast a shadow on its atmosphere.

“It doesn't sound all that impressive, but the shadow moved across the planet as the night progressed,” said Dutkus. “The objects in the telescope don't look real some nights, more like paintings, but seeing the shadow move reminded me that I was really looking at this celestial waltz taking place several hundred million miles away.” 

Visitors are also invited to witness the staff conduct astrophotography sessions with specialized equipment. Information on upcoming sessions and past images of the Veil Nebula, craters on the moon, Mercury’s transit of the sun, and the Whirlpool Galaxy are all available on the LU Astronomical Observatory Facebook page.

Steve Dutkus

The observatory is open for free night sky viewing to Liberty University students, faculty and staff, and their guests. Community members can also schedule a free visit. Hours, directions, and sign-up information can be found on the observatory website.


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Observe the Solar Eclipse on August 21 

Come view the solar eclipse with us on Monday, Aug. 21. The Astronomical Observatory is planning to have 8-inch telescopes fitted with special solar filters set up on the DeMoss Hall observation deck from 1 to 4 p.m. The peak of the eclipse in Lynchburg will occur at about 2:40 p.m. and will cover about 90 percent of the sun. Viewing is dependent on the weather.

Do not look directly at the sun at any time during the eclipse. Follow NASA’s safe viewing guidelines to enjoy this historic event.

For more information, view the LU Astronomical Observatory Facebook page the week of the event.

The last total solar eclipse viewable from the contiguous United States was on Feb. 26, 1979. The next one will happen on April 8, 2024, and will be visible from Texas to Maine. Check out NASA’s Total Eclipse website for more information about the eclipse, including important safety information.