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
Joey models the Starman shirt from TAOAS (TAO Astronomical Society).
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).
Don't Miss the August 20
(Juno Spacecraft Update)
Radio Astronomy Lecture
Find the Observatory
Some notable events of August, 2016
Comfortable August nights seem to be tailor-made for backyard astronomers (from ORION). Warm evenings throughout August are great opportunities to get the whole family outside for summer stargazing fun with a telescope or a pair of binoculars.
Say "See You Later" to Saturn and Mars August will be the last month of the year to get a good view of Saturn through a telescope. At the beginning of the month, Saturn and Mars will both be well above the horizon in the south-southwest as the sky gets dark, so the "seeing" should be acceptable for good telescopic views. Don't forget a high-power eyepiece! By the end of the August, the planets will only be about 10 degrees above the horizon at twilight's end. On the 23rd and 24th at dusk, the two planets form a picturesque vertical alignment with the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius.
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.
This (below) is an earlier photo of (multiple science fair award winner) Katie Sloop, together with the visiting Dinkins family, learning radio astronomy at TAO.