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Buildings @ Oakland University


Built: 1974 | Type: instruction and research


Quick Facts

  • Construction onset: Spring 1972
  • Building Dedication: June 11, 1974
  • Cost: $14,663
  • Architect: Oakland University
  • Construction: Wake-Pratt Construction Co.
  • Funding: $10,000 in grant funds given by the OU Foundation
  • Specifications: 416; 16'x27'; featuring a retractable roof


Designed and manufactured by Ash Manufacturing Company, Inc., the observatory's telescope was built over a three-year period by Oakland University student Jerry Pesha, Rochester Adams High School senior Danny O'Dowd, and Oakland University's Physics Club.  Son of then-president Donald O'Dowd, Danny O'Dowd honed his physics skills through the construction of the telescope, later pursuing his studies at the California Institute of Technology.

The telescope itself is reflective, built with a mirror at the bottom of its shaft to allow light to reflect back towards a second mirror at the top. Capable of tracking moving stars and other traveling cosmic materials by use of a slow-motion motor, the telescope has been used by Oakland University's Physics Department, Astronomy clubs, and the public for a host of stargazing experiences.

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Photos courtesy of the Oakland University Archives.



Created by Mariela Hristova / Updated on May 15, 2018 by Mariela Hristova

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