On June 16, the Astronomy Department hosted the Van Vleck Observatory Centennial Symposium: A Celebration of Astronomy at Wesleyan University. Wesleyan’s observatory has been celebrating its centennial during the 2015-16 academic year, with a series of events and an exhibition, “Under Connecticut Skies.”
The symposium was co-sponsored by the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford (ASGH), and held in conjunction with StarConn.
The exhibition was spearheaded by Roy Kilgard, support astronomer and research associate professor of astronomy, and Amrys Williams, visiting assistant professor of history. At the meeting, they discussed the exhibition, which was developed by a team of faculty, students and staff using the observatory’s extensive collection of scientific instruments, teaching materials, photographs, drawings and correspondence to illustrate the changes in astronomical research and teaching over the past century. Located in Van Vleck’s library, the exhibition is semi-permanent and open to the public for viewing when the building is open.
In addition, University Archivist Leith Johnson created an exhibition in Olin Library titled, “A Stellar Education: Astronomy at Wesleyan, 1831-1916.” It is available for viewing through October.
The day-long event included guests speakers discussing topics in the full range of professional and amateur astronomy. Talks were given by many members of Wesleyan’s astronomy department and other departments, past and present.
The event concluded with a gala reception and re-dedication ceremony of the Van Vleck Observatory. Guests viewed the restored 20-inch refractor telescope.