The above photo was taken in our classroom during a Public Stargaze with a guest lecturer, Les Johnson, of NASA/MSFC.
Enjoy TAO in another Language
(we have a big planet):
ORION is a local science and engineering oriented group that supports astronomy public events, field trips and lectures on current related topics. Group activities are centered in Oak Ridge and at TAO. Orion members support the Tamke Allan Observatory family nights on the first and second Saturday of each month. Monthly meetings are held at the Oak Ridge Historic Grove Theater on third Wednesday evenings at 1900 h (7:00 PM).
Astronomers from the Oak Ridge Isochronous Observation Network (ORION) and Knoxville Observers participate in these events.. TAO serves as the center for astronomy classes, optical astronomy and radio astronomy observing as well as and public stargazes on the first and third Saturdays of each month.
To subscribe to ORION news items, send an email to
TAO Pleiades Cluster Status
Radio Astronomy is one focus of our TAO activities. Here is an image of a poster showing how we are using the Itty Bitty Telescope (IBT) as part of the SARA-NRAO Radio Navigator's Group (click for full size, and we are happy to share the poster).
TAO astronomy students visited UT and built a scintillation detector containing several plastic scintillators and 4 photomultipliers. The complete cosmic ray detection system is now in place and TAO is part of the TEnnessee Cosmic ray Observatory Project (TECOP).
January 7 stargaze cancelled due to snow on the North Road
Program for January 21:
Find the Observatory
Celestial Sights of December, 2016
M42, The Great Nebula in Orion
Visible as the middle star of Orion's sword, this emission nebula
looks amazing in everything from binoculars to the XX16g! Can you
see the Trapezium Cluster, the 4-star system at the center of M42?
Best Binocular Targets. While 50mm binoculars
are good for December stargazing, bigger 70mm, 80mm, or larger binos
will reveal brighter and better views of celestial gems, of which
there are plenty to enjoy in December skies. The glorious open star
cluster M45, also known as the Pleiades, will be nearly overhead in
the constellation Perseus. A little more north and overhead you'll
find the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), which really shines in big binoculars.
Slightly to the northwest of M31 you'll see the beautiful Double Cluster
Here's a photo of our STEM teacher's group, learning "From Earth to the Stars with STEM" on Dec. 8:
All those little red markers above show clumps of recent Internet connections to TAO. You can use the mouse wheel to enlarge the map.
Save Roane Starry Skies is in its ninth year! Founded Nov. 4, 2007
or if you have a comment or questions
Dark skies on a night in December revealed Aurora from TAO (note our weather station). Photo by Astronomy class student Robert Quinn.
The following sunset photo was taken on Astronomy Day, May 7, 2006.
Sometimes our POD actually glows. The source of the light is something that visitors are encouraged to discover.
Here are photos from Heather Fries showing the sunset, and some of our visitors.