The centerpiece of the Astronomy and Astrophysics program is the 1-meter diameter Ritchey-Chrétien reflecting telescope. This telescope, built in 2014 and housed atop the College of Arts & Sciences building, is the largest university-based research telescope in Florida, weighing in at around 2 tons.

The Ritchey-Chrétien telescope (RC) is a type of reflecting telescope that delivers a large-diameter, well-corrected field of view from its hyperbolic primary and secondary mirrors and field-flattening lens system. This telescope, along with its digital imaging cameras and spectrographs, gathers millions of times more light than the human eye.

Faculty and students use the 1-meter telescope to research planets, moons and asteroids in the Solar System, exoplanets, the structure and ages of stars, and nearby galaxies.

In addition to the 1-meter telescope, the Observatory houses six smaller portable telescopes mounted on the roof of the College of Arts and Sciences. These telescopes are used for student training in eyepiece observing, digital imaging and spectroscopy.

More About the Telescope

  • Built by DFM Engineering in Longmont, CO
  • Lifted five stories to its new home by a mobile crane, then gently lowered inside the 30-foot diameter dome of the observatory atop the COAS building
  • RC telescope designs like this one are found in other major research observatories around the world and in NASA's Hubble Space Telescope


  • Ritchey-Chrétien telescope
  • 6 smaller telescopes

Lab Information

Location: COAS Observatory

Lab Director: Ted von Hippel

Contact Us: To speak to someone about this lab or any of our facilities, call us at 386-226-6100 or 800-862-2416, or email

For more information, visit the ERAU Campus Observatory and Public Open House nights website