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College of Arts & Sciences
Physics and Astronomy

Horsehead Nebula from Melton

Melton Memorial Observatory

This historic observatory on the Horseshoe of the USC Columbia campus is currently open to the public on clear Monday nights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm, weather permitting. Anyone is welcome to come by and observe through the 16-inch Cassegrain telescope in the dome and other small telescopes on the observatory deck. See the Moon, planets, stars, star clusters, and more through our telescopes free of charge!

Update for August 14, 2017:

The observatory will be closed on Monday, August 14. Please check back for future updates!

Summer 2017 News:

Throughout the summer, the observatory's schedule may be different compared to the regular school year. We will continue to post updates on this website in addition to our Facebook and Twitter channels (listed in the "News" section below) on Monday afternoons at the latest to inform our guests of possible closures.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time!

Social Media Information:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates on the Melton Memorial Observatory!

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Read the April 2017 story in @UofSC Today about Melton Observatory open nights and the upcoming total solar eclipse.

Public Observing Information:

Public observing nights are currently from 9:00pm to 11:00pm, weather permitting. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Ring Nebula will highlight this season's observing. It is also possible to observe the passage of orbiting satellites over Columbia, such as the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. 

Current weather forecast from Accuweather.

Astronomer's forecast and clear sky chart from

We now have a live video stream posted to our website every clear Monday night! Live images from the telescope are available online during regular public observing hours.


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