Paul Morgan Observatory

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Until further notice, the observatory will not be hosting on site visits or tours.

See part of a letter (April 29,2021)  to Campus from Dr. Thatcher explaining the current closures.  

  •       " The campus remains subject to the governor’s executive order, which requires us to be closed to the public. Only employees, students enrolled for credit or non-credit classes, prospective students by appointment, vendors, contracted services, and Maple Corner Montessori employees, children, and families (who are engaged in MCM activities or pick-up/drop-off of children) are permitted on campus. The campus cannot re-open to the public until the governor lifts the executive order." 

. Virtual observing may be available at the Observatory in late  August2021. Please call or email to set up a special virtual visit. See contacts below.

The Paul Morgan Observatory (PMO) is designed to provide onsite and online viewings of the sun and night sky. The observatory will also serve to provide outreach to schools and other groups via the Internet and onsite tours. If skies are cloudy a short lecture with slides and videos will be presented. See announcements below.

Photograph above: Orion Nebula from PMO

Paul Morgan Observatory - An Introduction 

2021 Observatory Updates

Sheratan spectrum web Mar21

Accomplishments at the Observatory

Although the observatory has been closed to the public, important work has been accomplished.  During the summer of 2020, new astronomy cameras have been tested and will be ready to use spring 2021. These new cameras will provide wide field high resolution views of nebula, star clusters and galaxies.  Other new cameras will provide better images of solar, lunar and planetary imaging. Also the observatory can now demonstrate how astronomers discover so much about distant stars using light.  A new spectroscopic filter grating and software has finally been tested and the process of imaging star spectra has been successful. This new capability will be a first for Community College and many public observatories in the Pacific Northwest.   The college and other students will be able to not only read about spectra of stars but see them in real time images from the observatory. Public tours will see not only visual images of many stars but will also see elements and molecules in stellar atmospheres. 

Re-opening the Observatory may not occur until the Fall 2021

Generous support from UCC IT and Facilities Departments may provide a safe socially distanced re-opening of the Observatory.  Plans are underway to develop an outdoor viewing program for schools and the general public.  Masks and six foot distanced spaces will be required for everyone's safety.  The Observatory will use an outdoor digital projector and 80" projector screen to project images from the telescopes and cameras inside the observatory. Stay tuned for more details about re-opening.   

Visit the Observatory - See above announcement - visits postponed

School visits to the observatory, either online or on site will now be available as weather permits. Please email the observatory to arrange a visit for either day (solar) or night time observing. Schools that want to visit online should email for arrangements and a special link for either daytime (solar) or night time (night sky) observing.

The observatory is located near the Tower Building at UCC. Limited parking is available around the Tower Building. However, there is more parking down the hill from the observatory in front of the Technology Center. For more information, see map.

The observatory is handicap accessible and is designed for wheelchair viewing of the TV monitors. Images are seen in real-time in color on large screen TV monitors allowing for group presentations. Simultaneously, the presentations with images can be broadcast online.

Did you know?

Each summer, students can enroll in GS107 - Beginning Astronomy. This 4 credit transferable science class with lab is available online but encourages local students to come to the observatory several times during the 9 week term starting in July. More distant students can access the observatory imaging sessions remotely via Zoom. This is a great class to take in order to fulfill a science elective for many programs of study! The 2021 Summer Term starts July 5.

UCC supports STEAM education in the community. In addition to the observatory, UCC also supports the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub. Together, we have promoted events like the Solar System Walk, STEAM Extravaganza, and many Observatory programs. 

UCC offers degree programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (aka STEAM). You are invited to explore them, share them, and get started in these vital fields of study. In fact, please take a few moments to become familiar with these UCC programs.

Apply to UCC

We hope that the activities at the Paul Morgan Observatory inspire you to "Reach for the Stars" by starting an educational journey in STEAM related areas of study at UCC. Ready?


Paul Morgan - Contact
Assistant Professor, Science - Astronomy
Observatory 541-440-4719 leave a message or 541-673-1081

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