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Stellar Finds Category

A DeWitt Lunar Eclipse

Jul. 10, 2020—Lunar eclipses are a celestial treat, but for many observers it seems like either the clouds know when to interfere or the eclipse inconveniently happens during the early morning hours.  This was not the case for the total lunar eclipse of February 20, 2008.  Shown above in the three-second exposure, Dyer Observatory’s beloved Seyfert Telescope...

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Cheeky Chipmunk

Jul. 2, 2020—This cheeky little fella raiding the bird feeder outside of Dr. Teets’ window is a common Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Even though this member of the squirrel family primarily dwells in a complex underground burrow, it is not afraid to make a climb to get a cheek full of favorite treats. Eastern chipmunks are the...

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Slice of a Meteorite

Jun. 30, 2020—Happy Asteroid Day!  Today marks the 112th anniversary of the Tunguska Event.  On June 30th, 1908, the skies over Tunguska, Siberia, lit up as an object, likely a stony meteor about the size of a football field, exploded a few miles above the surface of the Earth.  The blast wave generated by the explosion leveled nearly...

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ISS and Atlantis Flyover

Jun. 20, 2020—It seems like only yesterday that we would see a news segment about one of NASA’s famous space shuttles blasting off of the launchpad from Kennedy Space Center.  Believe it or not, it has been almost a decade since the flight of the last shuttle mission. The image above was taken from Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory...

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Northern Red Oak and the Derecho

May. 26, 2020—The Dyer Observatory grounds enjoy a large number and variety of trees, but we still hate to see one go. On May 3, 2020, a derecho struck the Nashville area and snapped off this unfortunate northern red oak. While it was being cleaned up on the property, Dyer Observatory Superintendent Nathan Griffin paused to count the...

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Russia Plans Second Sphere

May. 20, 2020—The Space Race took off in earnest with the Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957. The United States was making plans to launch its own satellite, the Vanguard, in the near future, but the American public was caught off guard and thus alarmed by the orbiting 184-pound, beach-ball-sized craft. As...

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Cumulonimbus Calvus Cloud

May. 18, 2020—As an astronomical observatory, we most look forward to perfectly clear skies which allow us to see distant cosmic bodies, but on occasion we enjoy lovely surprises cooked up by the Earth’s own atmosphere. This photo was taken from the Dyer Observatory grounds looking westward on a summer afternoon. Our main dome, which houses the...

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Lizard Demonstrates Infrared Spectrum

May. 15, 2020—When we set out to show you science in a whole new way, we often mean that literally. A popular demonstration we include in our summer camps showcases infrared light. Infrared (IR) means “beyond the red” and is typically not visible to human eyes. Its relatively long wavelength puts IR on the electromagnetic spectrum between...

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Muriel Mussels Seyfert – Artist

May. 14, 2020—This Nashville Banner clipping from March 18, 1952, announced a one-night art show at the Ryman Auditorium that featured Muriel Seyfert, wife of Vanderbilt faculty member and future Dyer Observatory director, Carl Seyfert. Not only was Muriel an accomplished painter; she enjoyed many talents including being a renowned astronomer in her own right. In this...

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Great Horned Owl

May. 4, 2020—Dyer Observatory is a unique parcel of the Vanderbilt University campus due to its seclusion at the peak of Brentwood ridge. The site is made even more special by being entirely surrounded by the verdant Radnor Lake State Natural Area. A special feature of Radnor is the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center which can...

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