Deprecated: Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/content/68/11734468/html/observatory/index.php on line 15
Shepherd Observatory
Observatory
---

Driving Directions
Maps
Calendar of Events

What is the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory?

The James Wylie Shepherd Observatory provides an informal setting for members of the extended university community to increase their understanding of science, mathematics and technology through presentations on the history and development of astronomy combined with telescopic observation. By stressing the historical interactions between astronomy and other sciences and human endeavors, an appreciation of true interdisciplinary and the interconnectedness of knowledge will be fostered. By providing regular observatory access and frequent educational programs and presentations, the observatory creates bridges between the University, regional teachers, Middle and High school students, their parents, and members of the community.

The observatory is located roughly 3 miles from the main campus on the 150-acre Gentry Springs site owned by the university. The site offers excellent dark-sky observing in a convenient locale. It is the most state-of-the-art astronomical facility in Alabama. The JWSO is capable of world-class astronomical telescopic observation and astrophotography, has a dedicated telescope for solar viewing, and is one of very few observatories in the country that is designed specifically to be completely accessible to people of all disabilities. Besides its observing capabilities, the JWSO will be a green facility, employing self-composting toilets, filtered rainwater and solar-generated electricity.

The facility is currently used by UM classes, the Montevallo Astronomical Society, AMSTI partners, and a variety of area K-12 classes and other local groups. There are also regularly-scheduled public viewing nights that are free of charge.

Upon completion, the observing complex will house an outdoor planetarium/amphitheater, a docent's cabin, walking trails, a digital indoor planetarium, a visiting scholar's dormitory, educational exhibits, and a visitors’ center in which groups can see images generated by the main telescope. Additional smaller scopes for solar and planetary observing can be set up at various locations outside the main dome, which is surrounded by solar-powered outdoor low-level lighting.

How Do I Get to the JWSO?

Driving Directions

James Wylie Shepherd Observatory
1093 Pebble Road
Montevallo, AL 35115

From the North:
Take I 65 to the Shelby County Airport Exit (234). 
Turn left at the light at the bottom of the ramp and go until this road dead ends at County Road 22. 
Turn right and continue for 2.8 miles until you reach the first traffic light at Moore’s Crossroads.

To go through Montevallo:
Turn left and stay on 119 for 4.2 miles.The fourth stoplight will be Middle Street—CR 155 to the left, CR 10 to the right. 
Turn right on Middle Street
Turn right from CR 10 onto CR 17 in .8 mile
Turn left from CR 17 onto CR 206  in .4 miles.
Turn right from CR 206 onto Pebble Road in .4 miles.
Stay on Pebble Road to Observatory  in 1.1 miles.

To go straight to JWSO
From Crossroads traffic signal, stay on CR 22 to CR 17:  2.7 miles
Left on CR 17 to 206 2.8 miles
Turn Right on CR 206
Turn right from CR 206 onto Pebble Road in .4 miles.
Stay on Pebble Road to Observatory  in 1.1 miles.

From the South
Exit 228, State Highway 25
Get on 25 southbound.
After 6.1 miles, turn right at the light onto CR 155 (Middle Street)
Stay on Middle Street (which turns into CR10 at the light) for 2 miles
Turn right from CR 10 onto CR 17 in .8 mile
Turn left from CR 17 onto CR 206  in .4 miles.
Turn right from CR 206 onto Pebble Road in .4 miles.
Stay on Pebble Road to Observatory  in 1.1 miles.

Maps

Here is a printable map from Google from the Shelby County Road exit on I-65 (exit #234) to the JWSO site.

Here is a searchable map from Google. You can zoom in and out and you can get driving directions by clicking "To Here" and entering your address:


View Larger Map

Calendar of Events

All meetings of the Montevallo Astronomical Society (MAS) are free and open to the public, weather permitting. Free and open to the public, weather permitting. "Weather Permitting" means almost completely clear skies at 7:30 pm. Otherwise, the event is canceled.