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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 8:00 pm to 10:00 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!

Melton Memorial Observatory

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Public Observing Information

Public observing nights are currently from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, 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.


Upcoming Special Events...


USC and the Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of South Carolina are hosting both a colloquium and public lecture featuring renowned astrophysicist, and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Adam Riess, as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series in Physics and Astronomy. Both events are Free and open to the public.

Public Lecture:  "Supernovae and the Discovery of the Accelerating Universe"
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall (Darla Moore School of Business - Room #101)
1014 Greene Street
7:00 pm

Special Colloquium:  "Expansion of the Universe Seen by Hubble"
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library (Program Room #132)
3:30 pm


Further information and details can be found at

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