Drexel’s Joseph R. Lynch Observatory
Department of Physics
If you’d like to engage in an out of this world telescopic experience, you can pierce the veil of night at Drexel University’s Joseph R. Lynch Observatory. Weather permitting, everyone is invited to join the Lynch Observatory for public nights on the first Wednesday of every month at approximately one half hour after sunset, except during January, July and August. Our public night viewing sessions take place on the roof of Drexel’s Main Building under the direction of Gordon Richards, a professor in the Department of Physics.
Calling All Stargazers
Utilizing a Meade LX200GPS Telescope with Schmidt-Cassegrain 16-inch Optics, attendees can marvel at a bevy of celestial objects that range from planets to nebulae to star clusters and comets. The 16-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope’s mirror makes it the largest in Philadelphia; for comparison, the Franklin Institute’s Joel N. Bloom Observatory has an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain. The Lynch Observatory is used as a learning and training tool for Drexel students and a way to connect our larger community with astronomy.
Visit the Observatory Website
Public Nights 2023
Wednesday, February 8, from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 1, from 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 12 from 8:00–10:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 4 from 8:30–10:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 1, from 9-10 p.m.
Always check the event status webpage. Public viewing nights are either “ON” or “CANCELED” pending the weather.
Weather permitting, the Lynch Observatory holds public nights on the first Wednesday of each month about 30 minutes after sunset, except during January, July and August. We encourage visitors to check the 'event status' because, occasionally, public nights are held on other days of the week, and if the weather is not clear the viewing event will typically be cancelled.
To reach the Lynch Observatory, enter Drexel University's Main Building at 32nd and Chestnut Streets. Take the stairs in the Great Court to the third floor. Then proceed to:
- Follow toward Curtis Hall, traveling past the A.J. Drexel Picture Gallery on your right.
- Climb three stairs and follow landing about 10 feet to a staircase — there is a sign that says 451-459 and an upward arrow.
- Climb two flights of stairs.
- Follow the long hallway until it dead ends, then make a left.
- Follow this hallway to a set of double doors.
- Go through the double doors and climb the stairs until you reach observatory.
Our Story — Celebrating 20 Years!
The Drexel University Lynch Observatory has been open to the public one night each month for stargazing since 2003, thanks to generosity and foresight of alumnus Joseph R. Lynch, ’58. The observatory’s 15-foot dome was built in 1968, and while it happens to be home to one of the largest telescopes on the East Coast, it was largely underused for decades.
Mr. Lynch, who died in 2008, was a GE aerospace engineer and amateur astronomer who was fascinated with astronomy. For almost 40 years, Lynch was involved with NASA projects at General Electric, including space probes to Jupiter and Venus and the first rocket to the moon. Mr. Lynch graduated from La Salle College High School in Philadelphia. During World War II, he served in the Marine Corps and participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima. Mr. Lynch earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Temple University and a master's degree in physics from the Drexel Institute of Technology.
With a matching grant from the GE Foundation, Mr. Lynch funded major renovations to the observatory dome and had a new deck installed, making it safer for the public to participate.