The University of Virginia operates the McCormick Observatory. It was constructed after a gift from Leander J. McCormick to build one of the largest telescopes in the world. The 26-inch astrometric refractor was the second largest telescope in the world when it was dedicated on April 13, 1885 (Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday).
The telescope was the primary research instrument for the department until the 1960’s and was used for astrometry into the 1990’s. In recent years, extensive hardware upgrades and instrumentation efforts have transformed the observatory into a more modern facility capable of optical CCD imaging and spectroscopy in conjuction with courses, and public outreach programs.
Open the first and third Friday of each month. See the schedule to plan a visit: http://www.astro.virginia.edu/public_outreach/schedule.php