The C.E.K. Mees Observatory is UR's main tool for education and public outreach in observational astronomy. It consists of a computer-controlled 24-inch cassegrain telescope with a tracking dome, located on a dark mountaintop and outfitted for visible-light astronomy with research-grade CCD cameras and medium/low-resolution spectrographs. Find out more about it here.


Kelly Douglass is Director of Mees Observatory. She and faculty colleague Dan Watson are often engaged in upgrading and maintaining the telescope and instruments, and in teaching students, amateur astronomers, and faculty colleagues how to use them.

Mees Observatory image

Documents and links useful to Mees observers

For in-person observers: current edition of the telescope startup/shutdown cookbook.

The Mees Observatory Wiki, where one will find the online logbooks and most of the documentation for telescope and instruments.


For those conducting socially-distanced observing from their living room: current edition of the remote observing startup/shutdown cookbook.


Astronomy 244/444, the Advanced Astrophysics Laboratory, where one can learn the details of observing, data reduction, and analysis.  

ClearDarkSky astronomical weather forecast for Mees, courtesy of Attilla Danko, Allan Rayhill, and the CMC.

Current conditions at Mees, from the onsite weather station as posted continuously to Weather Underground.

Some presentable images taken at Mees -- click for full-size version. Images are LRGB color unless otherwise indicated.

M 101 M 51 M 109 NGC 5985/
NGC 7331 NGC 2685 NGC 5866

M 95, a Milky-Way-like barred spiral galaxy about 30 million light years away.

Left: LRGB. Center: LRGB + Ha, to emphasize H II regions in M 95's disk. Right: montage ot M 95's nucleus in R, G, B, and Ha, to show (in Ha) its surrounding ring of H II regions.
Nesli Erez's data from ASTR 444, Spring 2021.

B 335 M 42/M 43, LRHaGB M 42/M 43,
L-[S II]-H
a-[O III]
NGC 7538 NGC 7635 M 27, LRHaGB M 1

WASP-10 b, a nearby hot-Jupiter exoplanet, 456 light years away.

Right: three light curves of WASP-10 b, as its orbit takes it between us and its host star on three different dates, blocking about 3% of the star each time. The transits yield the planet's orbital period, 3.0929 0.0002 days, and its diameter, 1.7 0.1 times that of Jupiter.
Amanda Broadmeadow's data from ASTR 244, Spring 2021.


M 15, a globular stellar cluster in our Milky Way Galaxy, 33,000 light years away.

Left: true color image. Center: blinking images of cluster center taken 1.5 hours apart, and with color saturation increased, the better to reveal a few dozen periodically-variable stars. Right: color-magnitude diagram with markers for variable stars: 34 RR Lyr stars  (+), two SX Phe stars (+), one W Vir star (+), and a 13 Gyr isochrone (...).

Mees Observatory computer desktop wallpaper

Available here in three 16x9 HD formats. Ask Dan if you'd like a different format.

3840x2160: 4k, 2160p 2880x1620: 3k, 1620p 1920x1080: 2k, 1080p

The Deer Lick galaxy group: true-color LRGB 15.4 arcmin x 8.7 arcmin image, 2.5 h total exposure time, taken 26 September 2017.

The five brightest galaxies in the image are, from left to right, NGC 7340, NGC 7337, NGC 7336, NGC 7335, and NGC 7331.

Available here in three 16x9 HD formats. Ask Dan if you'd like a different format.

3840x2160: 4k, 2160p 2880x1620: 3k, 1620p 1920x1080: 2k, 1080p

H II regions on the Cassiopeia-Cepheus border: true-color LRGB 27.4 arcmin x 15.4 arcmin image, 5 h total exposure time, taken 2 August 2016.

Artistic license: the two colorful H II regions, NGC 7635 (the Bubble Nebula) and NGC 7538, are close together on the sky, but not as close as shown; a less interesting star field has been omitted.

C.E.K. Mees Observatory --- Department of Physics & Astronomy --- University of Rochester --- Rochester, NY 14627-0171