Observatory

Welcome to UCF’s Robinson Observatory!

Robinson Observatory (RO) is a research and education facility at the University of Central Florida. It is run by the faculty and students of the Planetary Sciences Group and of the UCF Astronomy Society in the Department of Physics. The current director of RO is Dr. Yan Fernandez.

We are registered with Astronomers Without Borders. The Orlando Sentinel recommends us as a “thing you have to do before graduating from UCF.”  VisitFlorida’s UCF Flickr album highlights us.

Event schedule and Knights Under the Stars (KUTS) registration



Robinson Observatory acknowledges financial support from the UCF College of Sciences, the Fund for Astrophysical Research, and LIFE@UCF. In particular we are very grateful for support from COS, the Department of Physics, Facilities Operations, LIFE@UCF, and Prof. David Workman for help in upgrading our dome control and telescope control systems.

Visitors, scouts, and UCF AST 2002 students:

  • Click here to learn when we’ll have our next RO “Knights Under the Stars” public events (a.k.a. Open House, a.k.a. Public Viewing) and to register your party to attend. You, yes you, can see the wonders of the night sky through our telescopes! These events are free but donations to the observatory are graciously accepted.  Currently we are limiting the capacity due to COVID-19. You can register your party up to one week before the event. Parking at the Observatory is free but limited, so please try to carpool.
  • Don’t know what’s what in the sky? That’s OK! Our knowledgeable staff will show you.
  • Are you a Girl Scout or Boy Scout leader and want to get your troop excited about astronomy? Contact the Astronomy Society’s public liaison to arrange a guided visit of RO.
  • Public or private are of course subject to cancellation depending on the weather. As much as we would like to, we can’t control the clouds! Click here to view our weather page.
  • UCF AST 2002 Students: We have forms for AST 2002 extra credit assignments; the form is only available at the event itself and should be turned in to Observatory staff.
  • The UCF Astronomy Society, is a registered student organization dedicated to bringing astronomy to UCF’s teeming masses. If you are a UCF student, Click the link to be added to their email list.
  • Contact the Planetary Science Group if you have questions about the observatory or our research.

Observers and Researchers:

  • We are located near 28° 35′ 30.3″ N, 81° 11′ 26.0″ W (±0.2″ or so). Our lawn is at an elevation of 60 feet, though the telescope itself is at about 77 feet above sea-level. Our Open Location Code (a.k.a. ‘plus code’) is 76WWHRR5+MP.
  • Science topics that are currently being or will be investigated at RO include: rotation periods of binary asteroids, long-term dust-production behavior of comets, photometric monitoring of variable stars, and exoplanet transits.
  • Our primary telescope is a 20-inch f/8.2 RCOS Ritchey-Chretien telescope. Currently, the telescope is being refurbished.
    • At the Cassegrain focus of this telescope is a STL-6303E camera from Santa Barbara Instruments Group that houses a KAF-6303E 3072-by-2048 pixel CCD.
    • With our current setup, the pixel scale is 0.458 arcsec and our field of view is 23.4-by-15.6 arcmin (i.e. about 0.10 square degrees). Typical seeing is 2 to 4 arcseconds at our site. Standard Johnson-Cousins UBVRI filters are used with the camera. We are in the process of commissioning an SGS spectrograph (also from SBIG) for use at the telescope as well.

Directions:

Our nominal street address is 12727 Ara Drive, Orlando, FL. However many popular online mapping websites will identify this as a location only near the observatory, not actually at it. Some websites will not even come close, mistakenly putting this location in the Avalon Park neighborhood (a neighborhood that also happens to have a street named “Ara Drive”) that is several miles south of UCF, nowhere near our observatory. So please use results from these mapping websites with caution.

Our Open Location Code (a.k.a. ‘plus code’) is 76WWHRR5+MP; here it is on a Google Map.

The observatory’s location on campus can be identified from UCF’s own campus map; we are Building 74.

Some Links:

Clear Dark Sky Forcast