Department of Physics and Astronomy

Jewett Observatory

The James Richard Jewett Observatory houses the largest refracting telescope in the state of Washington. The 12-inch double lens was polished at the Alvin Clark & Sons factory near Boston between 1887-1889 by the same optician that fabricated the world's largest (40-inch) lens at Yerkes Observatory. The present dome and support building were designed in 1950 and dedicated in 1953. The philanthopy of Mr. and Mrs. George Jewett of Spokane made the project possible, and it was named after George's father, a professor of Arabic at Harvard, and a "friend of astronomy for many years."

The observatory is used primarily for student "laboratories" and also contains 10 portable telescopes for hands-on education.

Directions

The observatory is located near the intersection of Grimes Way and Olympia Avenue. There are about a dozen "blue" parking slots at the observatory (anybody can park there after hours or on weekends).

From Spokane, take Hwy 195 south to Pullman. Follow Hwy 270 east. Hwy 270 jogs through downtown and continues to the University. Turn left on Stadium Way, then the first right turn onto Olympia. Olympia turns sharply to the left and uphill. Go past the stop sign at Chinook Drive. You will see the equine track downhill to your right and the observatory dome uphill to your left. Turn on Observatory Drive and park.

From Lewiston, take Hwy 195 north to Pullman. Follow Hwy 27, which becomes Grand Avenue, until you reach the downtown area. Turn right and follow Hwy 270 east to the University. Turn left on Stadium Way, then the first right turn onto Olympia. Olympia turns sharply to the left and uphill. Go past the stop sign at Chinook Drive. You will see the equine track downhill to your right and the observatory dome uphill to your left. Turn on Observatory Drive and park.

From Moscow on Hwy 270, turn right on Stadium Way, then immediately right on Olympia. Olympia turns sharply to the left and uphill. Go past the stop sign at Chinook Drive. You will see the equine track downhill to your right and the observatory dome uphill to your left. Turn on Observatory Drive and park.

Star Parties!

Jewett Observatory is our direct window on the heavens. In spring, summer, and fall, we hold public star parties, where any interested person can come to view the cosmos through the historic 12-inch Clark.

2014 open nights are listed here. Events are canceled in the case of cloudy or inclement weather.

  • Saturday, Sept 6, 2014, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Live Jazz Music and BBQ dinner with the Palouse Astronomical Society, $8 for a grilled hot dog or bratwurst dinner, then, 9:00 and on, stargazing
  • Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014, wee hours: Total lunar eclipse. Observatory open predawn, 3:15 a.m. to sunrise. Visitors welcome before the building opens, too. Penumbral eclipse begins 1:17 a.m., partial eclipse begins 2:18 a.m., totality begins 3:27 a.m., totality ends 4:22 a.m., partial eclipse ends 5:32 a.m., penumbral eclipse ends 6:32 a.m., and Uranus will also be observed (weather permitting)
  • Thursday, Oct 23, 2014, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Partial solar eclipse sun-party. Partial eclipse begins 1:36 p.m., max-partial-eclipse 3:01 p.m., eclipse ends 4:20 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept 27, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 25, 2015, 8:30 p.m. - Int'l Astronomy Day
  • Saturday, May 23, 2015, 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 27, 2015, 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 25, 2015, 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug 22, 2015, 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept 12, 2015, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Live Jazz Music and BBQ dinner with the Palouse Astronomical Society, $8 for a grilled dinner, then, 8:00 and on, stargazing
  • Saturday, Oct 17, 2015, 8:30 p.m.

Most public evenings feature a crescent moon, star clusters, nebulae, double stars, and other surprises, but what is visible depends strongly on the weather. In 2014, Jupiter is available in April and May, then Saturn becomes available in June and beyond.
All are welcome! There is no charge. Please dress warmly, even in summer. Clouds render all astronomical objects invisible, so do not come if you cannot see any stars out. All events cosponsored by the Palouse Astronomical Society.

The observatory has no on-site telephone. Use 335-4994 for messages.

Observatory coordinates: 46 deg 43 m 43.5 s N. Latitude, 117 deg 09 m 09 s W. Longitude

Department of Physics and Astronomy, PO Box 642814, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2814, 509-335-1698, Contact Us