Featured Image

Comet Pan-STARRS

This is an image of Comet Pan-STARRS captured from the Lake Murray Dam on March 13th, 2013. Pan-STARRS is one of two comets that will be visible to the naked eye this year. Named after the telescope which discovered it in 2011, Pan-STARRS is making its first trip around the sun and based on orbital calculations, it won’t return for another 106,000 years.

Comets are large chucks of ice and dust which originate in the Oort cloud of the outer solar system. When comets approach the sun, solar radiation and wind vaporize the ices which form an atmosphere, or coma, around the comet and produce its tail, which always points away from the sun. A secondary dust tail may also form and point in a different direction and curve along the comet’s orbit. (Image credit: Alex Mowery)

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Contact the Melton Observatory

The Melton Observatory is located on the campus of the University of South Carolina at the intersection of Greene St. and Bull St. across from the Russell House Bookstore.

Email the observatory at melton@physics.sc.edu (preferred method of communication).
Call the observatory at (803) 777-4180.

Public Observing Hours...

Monday nights year-round, weather permitting.
Current Hours: 8-10pm
EST Hours: 8-10pm

We may also open for special astronomical events, such as a lunar eclipse, etc. These events will be posted on our homepage and on our Facebook page as they become available.

Physical Address...

1429 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Mailing Address...

Melton Observatory
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy
712 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208

Observatory Staff...
Bryan DeMarcy graduated in May 2014 with a B.S. in Mathematics. He currently teaches the Observatory classes at USC. Bryan also does research for the USC Astronomy department. His research is on "Photoionization of Interstellar Gas in Distant Galaxies".  
Observatory Volunteers...
Anya Rogers is a Senior at USC studying Mathematics and Physics. She has been volunteering at Melton since January 2015.

Designed by Alex Mowery and maintained by Bryan DeMarcy.

© University of South Carolina Board of Trustees