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Friends of Steward Observatory

Welcome to Friends of Steward Observatory.  

Nearly 100 years ago, Lavinia Steward gave $60,000 to the founder of the department of physics and astronomy, Andrew Ellicott Douglass. That gift built the Steward Observatory and launched a department that leads the field in teaching and discovery, manufacturing and research. In February, 2018 we celebrated the100 year anniversary as a campus department. 

Today, we invite you to join the Friends of Steward Observatory, where every dollar donated goes directly to support the undergraduate and graduate students in the Astronomy Department. 

Friends of Steward Observatory funds go to:

  • Student Scholarships
  • Student attendance at professional conferences
  • Support of summer work projects
  • Astronomy Club activities
  • Tucson Women in Astronomy group
  • Graduate Council group

Enriching the lives of students

The University of Arizona's Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory is a world-renowned institution at the forefront of modern astronomy. The Department of Astronomy offers academic programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics and incorporates teaching and research faculty as well as post-doctoral students.

Steward Observatory is the research arm of the astronomy program and includes the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, along with management responsibilities of 25 telescopes located on 8 sites worldwide. 

Friends of Steward Observatory are invited to an annual private lecture featuring renowned faculty and promising post-doctoral and graduate students revealing new discoveries and discussing groundbreaking research.  You will receive advanced notice and invitations to special events.  Attend trips to local telescope sites, including the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham and the MMT Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, led by a local astronomer. 

FoSO members will receive invitations to special "space science" events like the arrival of OSIRIS-REx to the asteroid Bennu, a public lecture from the Aaronson Prize winner and a Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab mirror casting High-Fire. 

Each Friend of Steward Observatory gift helps support the Bright Stars of the future and activities that enhance student life. Memberships are tax deductible. Your support will make a difference.

We hope you have an opportunity to join us as we explore the cosmos.


Ruth McCutcheon, Director of Development
Cathi Duncan, Development Manager,

P.S. As always, our public lectures remain free.


"If there is anything that can bind the heavenly mind of a man to this dreary exile of our earthly home and can reconcile us with our fate so that one can enjoy living, then it is verily the enjoyment of the mathematical sciences and astronomy." -Johannes Kepler