The UVI Observatory, located at 1325 ft atop Crown Mountain on the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, houses a research-grade 0.5 m automated Cassegrain telescope. The telescope is maintained and operated by astronomers at the University of the Virgin Islands, the College of Charleston, and South Carolina State University.

In addition to the permanent observatory staff and an enthusiastic group of volunteers, the facility hosts also UVI faculties from the physics department and collaborators. We invite you to explore this website to explore the Observatory, our activities (including our plan for an astronomy summer camp), research, and to obtain the latest Astronomy news.

Learn more about our Bachelor of Science in Physics with Concentration in Astronomy (Flyer)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our events are delayed until further notice. Please stay safe and stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Check our page periodically for updates and we hope to see you soon!

COVID 19 Prevention

Etelman Observatory Virtual Tour (Credit: Axel Bartsch, Karl Dinang)


Observatory Staff and Faculty

David Morris Dr. David Morris, Director:

David Morris is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at UVI and the Director of the Etelman Observatory. He worked for four years at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and taught as a Part-Time Faculty member at George Washington University. At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Morris worked as a member of the Science Mission Directorate. He primarily studied phenomena related to gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), specifically late-time episodes of emission known as flares, during which the GRB central engine (though to be a black-hole) restarts its emission process, sometimes days or weeks after the GRB initial explosion. Dr. Morris moved to St. Thomas in 2011.

While at UVI, Dr. Morris has overseen the reopening of Etelman Observatory to the public in 2012, has instituted the Observatory's first Summer Research Internship Program in 2013, and has developed research ties between UVI and NASA-Goddard. Five UVI students are currently working at Goddard this summer. Dr. Morris is also the PI of the NASA grants that currently fund UVI's new Bachelors of Science in Physics and Astronomy. He has led the development of the degree program since its inception.

Before Dr. Morris' arrival, the university lacked full-time astrophysicists. Over recent years, Dr. Morris has sought to hire some of the most talented astrophysics researchers and instructors in the world. He is now excited to have led the rapid growth of the astrophysics group to five full-time astrophysicists working at UVI. He also hosts committed and enthusiastic volunteers and community supporters. Together, they are dedicated to introducing students and adults to the fascinating phenomena of the night sky and to increasing opportunities in physics, astronomy, and aerospace engineering for all students in the Virgin Islands. To learn more about our observatory faculty, staff, and volunteers, click here.

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