Dyer Observatory

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Dyer Observatory
Dyer Observatory logo.png
Dyer Observatory Logo
OrganizationVanderbilt University
LocationBrentwood, Tennessee
Coordinates36°03′08″N 86°48′18″W / 36.05222°N 86.80500°W / 36.05222; -86.80500
Altitude345 metres (1,132 ft)
WebsiteDyer Observatory
Seyfert24-inch reflector
Arthur J. Dyer Observatory
Arthur J. Dyer Observatory Brentwood TN 2014.jpg
Dyer Observatory is located in Tennessee
Dyer Observatory
Location1000 Oman Dr., Brentwood, Tennessee
Coordinates36°03′08″N 86°48′18″W / 36.05222°N 86.80500°W / 36.05222; -86.80500Coordinates: 36°03′08″N 86°48′18″W / 36.05222°N 86.80500°W / 36.05222; -86.80500
Area9 acres (36,000 m2)[2]
NRHP reference #09000114[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 6, 2009[1]
Dyer Observatory is located in the United States
Dyer Observatory
Location of Dyer Observatory

The Dyer Observatory, also known as the Arthur J. Dyer Observatory, is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Vanderbilt University. Built in 1953, it is located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and is the only university facility not located on the main campus in Nashville; the observatory is named after Arthur J. Dyer, who paid for the observatory's 24-foot (7.3 m)-wide dome, and houses a 24-inch (610 mm) reflecting telescope named for astronomer Carl Seyfert. Today, the observatory primarily serves as a teaching tool; its mission is to interest children in the fields of science and engineering;[3] the observatory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 6, 2009.[2][1]


Vanderbilt's first observatory was housed on the campus itself, it was equipped with a 6-inch (150 mm) refracting telescope and was the site of E. E. Barnard's earliest astronomical work. Barnard would eventually discover 16 comets and the fifth moon of Jupiter, receive the only honorary degree Vanderbilt has ever awarded, and have the on-campus observatory named in his honor.[4] However, that on-campus observatory would eventually prove insufficient for the university's needs.[5]

When Seyfert joined the university's faculty in 1946, he lobbied for increasing the astronomy department's modest course offerings and for a new observatory,[5] he solicited donations from over 80 Nashville businesses to outfit the new observatory and convinced Dyer, owner of Nashville Bridge Company, to donate the funds for and to install the observatory's dome. When the observatory opened in December 1953, Seyfert was named its director, and, after his death, the 24-inch (610 mm) telescope was named in his honor.[6]

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  1. ^ a b c "Announcements and actions on properties for the National Register of Historic Places, March 13, 2009". New listings. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  2. ^ a b Scarlett C. Miles; Brian Beadles; Claudette Stager (December 2008). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Arthur J. Dyer Observatory" (PDF). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (78 pages, including historic photos, blueprints, maps, diagrams and 36 color photos)
  3. ^ "Dyer Observatory Home". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  4. ^ Carey, Bill (2001-10-29). "Astronomer Barnard was among Vanderbilt's first academic superstars". The Vanderbilt Register. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  5. ^ a b "Carl Keenan Seyfert (1911-1960)". Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  6. ^ "Dyer History". Vanderbilt University. Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-28.

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