Solar Observing

Weekly public solar observing events will take place at the UMass Sunwheel, each clear Saturday, from 1 to 2 pm. A telescope with a solar filter, managed by amateur astronomer Tom Whitney, will be available for viewing the Sun.

Amherst Area Astronomers Association

The Association has bi-monthly meetings, weekly viewing trips to local observatories, astronomy classes every other week, and many other events that the public can attend in both the Amherst/Northampton area.

Orchard Hill Observatory

Located at the highest point on the UMass campus, this observatory boasts a 16-inch telescope. The Observatory is used to teach observational astronomy, and is also open to the public every Thursday night.


The Sunwheel ,planned and organized by the late Professor Judith Young, is similar to Stonehenge in design and functionality. The sun rises and sets on each equinox and solstice at the positions of the stones in the circle. Moonstones marking the northern and southernmost extremes of the rising and setting of the moon have also been put in place. Public events are held every solstice and equinox at the Sunwheel, located on the southwest side of the UMass campus.

Department at a Glance