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April 20, 2023

Celebrating 100 years of astronomy at UArizona

  • What: Steward Observatory open house and rededication ceremony
  • When: Saturday, April 22, 1-5 p.m. President Robert C. Robbins and other university leaders will speak at 2 p.m.
  • Where: Steward Observatory Dome and Room N210, 933 N. Cherry Ave.
  • RSVP: RSVP to Cathi Duncan,

TUCSON, Ariz. – Members of the media are invited to attend an open house and ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the first astronomical telescope on the University of Arizona campus.

The university will celebrate a century of discovery with the 36-inch reflecting telescope and the iconic Steward Observatory dome, both of which are still in use today.

Open house attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the diverse astronomy and astrophysics research being done by UArizona students, faculty and staff. Updates will be provided on the James Webb Space Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope, a telescope with a 25-meter primary mirror with seven mirror segments manufactured by Steward Observatory's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

The afternoon will include a Steward Observatory rededication ceremony at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m., there will be a series of brief talks sharing the research taking place today and what discoveries are expected in the next 100 years. Speakers include:

  • Robert C. Robbins, president of the University of Arizona
  • Buell T. Jannuzi, director of Steward Observatory and head of the Department of Astronomy
  • JP Roczniak, president of the University of Arizona Foundation
  • Carmala Garzione, dean of the College of Science

Considered a very large telescope at the time, the university's first astronomical telescope had a primary mirror measuring 36 inches in diameter, and it allowed for the start of major astronomical research, student education and public outreach by the university. The telescope was moved to Kitt Peak in the 1963, where it now is part of the SpaceWatch program, which is used to characterize asteroids and monitor objects in space that might present a hazard to Earth.

UArizona now operates more than a dozen telescopes across the state and has helped build and operate observatories in Chile, Antarctica and outer space.

"For more than a century, the students, staff and faculty of Steward Observatory and the Department of Astronomy have explored the universe together and shared what we learned with the world, and we are excited to continue our efforts into our second century," Jannuzi said.

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Media contact:
Cathi Duncan
Steward Observatory

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2021 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $770 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

The University of Arizona Land Acknowledgement


Astronomy Space