View the Stars at Walker's
During the academic year, The van Gemeren Observatory is open for public viewing on select dates. All observations sessions start at 7 p.m., and will run until 9 p.m. All are welcome to join us in this exploration of the night sky. Walker's faculty will be on hand to provide direction and telescopes, binoculars, and more.
Please remember that astronomy can only happen if the weather cooperates. A final decision as to whether a session will happen or not will be made by 6 p.m. at the latest on the scheduled day.
You can also schedule a visit and observation session for your group or organization.
About the Observatory
The van Gemeren Observatory, situated atop a ridge on Walker's campus, opened for classroom use in the Fall of 2006. The observatory interacts with classroom computers for the school's astronomy courses.
Walker's science instructors also host viewings to community groups and the public at the observatory. The observatory includes a sky shed with a retractable roof, housing a 16-inch Meade telescope with a professional-grade optical system and a wireless link allowing for remote operation. The telescope is permanently mounted on a vibration-free steel pier, and the GPS-controlled tracking system aligns itself to the Earth's rotational axis to keep objects centered. The Meade is the best production telescope available, and automatically locates 145,000 objects in its database. The entire observatory is solar powered in keeping with Walker's commitment to the environment. It has been in regular use on campus by students, faculty and alumnae.
The observatory was made possible by an anonymous donation in memory of Neils and Willem van Gemeren, members of the Walker's community who perished in a New Hampshire plane crash in August 2005.
Heading south on Bushy Hill Road (Route 167), turn right at the flashing yellow pedestrian light that marks the entrance to campus. Proceed straight up the hill through the barn complex until the road "T's". Turn left at the "T" and continue for about 100 yards. The Observatory is a small tan structure, on the left, with a green roof. Please drive slowly when on campus.