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Fernbank Science Center

Fernbank Science Center

Fernbank Science Center

Ralph Buice Jr. Observatory

The Dr. Ralph L. Buice, Jr. Observatory houses a 0.9 meter (36-inch) Cassegrain reflector beneath a 10 meter (30 ft.) dome. This is the largest telescope in the southeastern United States and one of the largest instruments ever dedicated to education and public viewing.

Free public observations are offered every Thursday and Friday evening from 9:00 pm (or dark) until 10:30 pm (weather permitting).  An astronomer will be available to position the telescope and answer questions. For more information and to confirm hours contact us at 678-874-7102.

Planetarium and Observatory Contacts

April Whitt- Astronomer

Mark Lancaster - Astronomer

Scott Harris - Planetary Geologist and Meterorites

Volunteer Oportunity

Share your passion for all things astronomical by volunteering in the Buice Observatory. This position involves assisting Observatory staff in running public programs at our Thursday and Friday evening open houses, as well as any special programming.

Required Knowledge/Skills:

A general knowledge of the night sky (planet positions, constellations, bright stars, moon phase, etc).

Ability to answer astronomical questions and speak to the public in courteous and friendly manner.

Experience operating small telescopes is preferred (training can be provided).

Dependable and prompt.


Greet guests as they enter the Observatory.

Operate subsidiary telescopes on the observatory deck.

Provide general explanations to guests regarding astronomy topics .

Engage guests waiting in line in the Observatory; offer them a general idea of what to expect.


Training is all "on the job" and will be conducted as needed by observatory staff.


Must be able to assist at least once per month for Thursday and/or Friday night open houses. All Observatory volunteer shifts are weather dependent.

Contact Mark Lancaster for more information