Hopkins Observatory

The Williams College campus hosts the historic Hopkins Observatory, originally built from 1836 to 1838. Within this observatory, in the upper observatory dome, is housed our Historic Clark telescope. Built by Alvin Clark in 1852, it was Clark’s first professional telescope. As a 7-inch refracting telescope it represented the state of the art at the time, although today it falls behind the 8 to 10m diameter telescopes that are common in sites around the world.

While generally not accessible to the public, in these images you can see the Clark telescope, as well as the dome in which it is housed.

Note the small slit in the dome through which the telescope would look.

Unlike modern astronomical observatories, the opening/closing and rotating of this dome was all human powered. Note the crank that is used for rotating the dome.

The first floor of our historic Hopkins Observatory contains the Milham planetarium, powered by the Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B. Planetarium shows are offered every Friday at 8pm during the fall and spring semesters. Shows are free and open to the public! Check out the astronomy department webpage for more information.