This, the main entrance of the observatory, faces due south, and the building is precisely aligned east to west. A small tube in the south wall is oriented such that direct rays of the sun shine through it to the floor only twice a year, at noon on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The slanted metal roof of the transit room (between the main and small rooms) was designed to open for observations using a three inch meridian telescope. The untimely death of Dr. Kennon in 1952, after 41 years of distinguished service to the department and the university, prompted the Board of Trustees to name this the ‘William Lee Kennon Observatory’. Dr. Kennon was Chair of Physics and Astronomy for 40 years. He was popular with and respected by students and faculty alike. His influence is still felt throughout the department — his careful planning of the physics buildings, his successful efforts to attain funding for new demonstration and laboratory equipment, his commitment to the growth of the curriculum, his nurturing of the students — all these things are Dr. Kennon’s legacy.
In the larger dome, is a refractor telescope that was purchased from the Sr. Howard Grubb Co. in 1893. It actually consists of 3 co-aligned visual and photographic telescopes; a fifteen-inch f/12 visual telescope, a nine-inch photographic telescope and a four-inch visual telescope.
Photos of the Grubb Refractor Telescope
The smaller dome currently houses a seventeen-inch f/6.8 Plane Wave, Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) reflector telescope (purchased through the Ole Miss Astronomy Legacy Project) with an electronic CCD camera, the SBIG ST10 with an AO-7 adaptive optics accessory, attached Paramount ME.
Photos of the Plane Wave CDK telescope with CCD Camera
The Astronomy Open House Schedule can be found here.