Hulbe Observatory

The Hulbe Observatory is primarily for the use of astronomy students at SCC.

About The Observatory

The Hulbe Observatory is located on top of Rodda South.  The southeastern staircase is the only public access to it. The new main telescope is a 0.43m PlaneWave CDK (Corrected Dall-Kirkham) reflector.

New Telescope

The Observatory Telescope.

The Hulbe Observatory was named in honor of Christoph Hulbe, who was a member of the Physics Department from 1968 to 2004.  He was passionate about sharing astronomy with the public, and passed away in 2010.

Rodda south building with Observatory on top.

Rodda South building with Observatory on top. Image courtesy of Forrest Newman.


The images below were taken in the Hulbe Observatory with an SBIG CCD camera and SBIG spectroscope.

Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation of Lyra

The gas in the nebula starts out inside a dying star and later forms a shell around it.  Eventually, the shell dissipates, leaving at the center a hot tiny White Dwarf about the size of the Earth.  The Sun will look like this about five (5) billion years from now.

Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation of Lyra

Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation of Lyra. Click to enlarge

Globular Cluster M13, or the Hercules Cluster

This is a group of stars that lie about 25,000 light years from the Sun in a sparse region of the Milky Way Galaxy called the Halo.  The light from this image started its way to Earth in 23,000 BCE.  The stars themselves are ancient, from between 12 to 13 billion years old and are about as old as the Galaxy itself.

Globular Cluster M13 or the Hercules cluster

Globular Cluster M13 or the Hercules cluster. Click to enlarge

Earth’s Moon

Note that the sides of the craters on the left are brighter.  Sunlight is coming from the right.  This area on the Moon was going through sunrise when this picture was taken.

Earth's moon

Earth’s moon. Click to enlarge.

Galaxy M95

Galaxy M95 is a spiral galaxy that is about 33 million light-years (10 Mpc) from us.  Although this is not a particularly good picture, it was taken from the campus of SCC.

Galaxy M95

Galaxy M95. Click to enlarge.


The Hulbe Observatory can also take spectra of stars.  We use an SBIG CCD camera with a high-resolution spectrograph.  Two examples of absorption spectra are below.


This is a spectra of the star Vega.  The dark lines are caused by Hydrogen atoms in the atmosphere above Vega absorbing light from Vega itself.  Red is on the left and blue is towards the right.

spectra of the star Vega

Spectra of the star Vega. Click to enlarge.


This is a spectra of the star Deneb.  Note the dark lines piling up toward the right.  Although Vega and Deneb are about the same temperature, the lines on Deneb are thinner because Deneb is a bigger, less dense star.  The spectra of stars can tell us their size!

spectra of the star Deneb

Spectra of the star Deneb. Click to enlarge.