“At Alfred’s birth , the universe was a far different place. It was centered on the Solar System and its then-seven planets, and the surrounding galaxies of stars. The first accurate measurement of a stellar distance had not even been made when Prof. William A. Rogers of Alfred Center contracted in 1863 with Henry Fitz, an instrument maker located in New York City, to buy a telescope of high quality.”
So starts an essay on the history of the observatory by John Stull, AU Class of 1952, beloved physics professor, and namesake to today’s Stull Observatory. Much credit to both Rogers and Stull for their dedication in each lovingly supporting observatories at Alfred University.
This month the observatory is celebrating its 150th anniversary, with much improved equipment and understanding of the universe. But still using that original high quality Fitz telescope!
Another piece from the original Rogers Observatory (located about where Susan Howell Hall is today) is pictured above: a transit instrument. Now on display in Herrick Library, the instrument was originally used to measure the position of the stars.