PVAMU to Open Observatory this Summer

Prairie View A&M University is poised to open a new solar observatory later this year.

“Right now, our campus has a Solar Observatory (listed as number 13 in the world on Wikipedia) that is used to study the sun during daytime. However, the new Prairie View Observatory will allow us to study stars, galaxies, and other planetary bodies at nighttime,” said Regents Professor Dr. Premkumar Saganti who also serves as principal investigator on the U.S. Department of Education and Title III-funded endeavor.

The $8 million observatory, which is being built in the same complex of the Solar Observatory on the east side of campus, will hold custom-built telescopes and custom developed cameras for astrophotography. Once complete, public guests can watch live feeds on the ground floor while authorized faculty researchers and students utilize equipment on the facility’s second floor.

“Currently, we teach more than 50 sections and nearly 1,500 students (per semester) through PVAMU’s physics program, and physics programs traditionally serve as physics and astronomy departments. As of now, we lack in the observational astronomy part. Hopefully, by next year with the opening on the new observatory, PVAMU will have a new degree program that focuses on astronomy. For the university, the observatory could also be a symbol of attraction for new and existing students and their families,” said Saganti.

The observatory is slated to open to faculty and students in May, with a grand opening event scheduled in August. For more information about the new Prairie View Observatory, visit pvamu.edu/pvso.