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Department of Physics and Astronomy

  • CLose up of dials on the large telescope at the Melton Observatory

Melton Observatory

Located on the Horseshoe of the USC Columbia Campus, the Melton Memorial Observatory contains a 16-inch Cassegrain telescope that provides a stunning view of the night sky for research purposes, students, and the general public. 

Weekly Stargazing at the Melton Observatory:

Melton Observatory will be open on Monday nights from 9:00-11:00 p.m., weather permitting.  To find out if the observatory is going to be open on a particular Monday night, please see one of its social media pages or call 803-777-8104.

Feel free to visit our social media channels as well!

Thank you for your interest in our programming!

Recent Media

Past Livestreams

April 26, 2021
April 19, 2021
April 12, 2021
April 5, 2021
March 29, 2021
March 22, 2021
March 8, 2021
February 22, 2021
December 18, 2020 ("Great Conjunction" of Jupiter and Saturn)
November 23, 2020
November 16, 2020
November 2, 2020
October 19, 2020
October 12, 2020
October 5, 2020
July 13, 2020
May 11, 2020
April 27, 2020
April 20, 2020
April 13, 2020
April 6, 2020
April 3, 2020


The Melton Observatory is named for Dr. William Davis Melton, our university's president in the 1920s. Following his death in 1926, friend and alumnus, Edwin Seibels, donated $15,000 to build an observatory in Dr. Melton's name.



Our observatory is open to students and the public, for free, on Monday evenings between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm. No appointments or reservations are required!

All age groups are welcome, but we ask that young children are kept under close supervision. Our equipment is sensitive and can be damaged easily.


Handicap Accessibility

The lower level of our observatory is wheelchair accessible. Unfortunately, the upstairs and the restroom on the main level are not. We have installed a large monitor in the hallway of the main level so you can still enjoy views from the telescope even if you're not able to climb the stairs.

Evening Tours

During a night tour, your group will be given a tour of the building, dome and telescopes, and will observe a variety of objects such as the Moon, planets, stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, and any other interesting objects currently in the sky depending on seeing conditions. Objects types, formation, size, distance, etc. are discussed. Contact us ahead of time to find out what objects will be visible to help plan your visit.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.