Powell Observatory was built by members of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City and with help of a grant from the Powell family of Kansas City in 1985 and is located 25 miles south of Kansas City in Louisburg, Kansas where the skies are noticeably darker than those in the city. Powell Observatory is home to the Ruisinger telescope, one of the largest telescopes available for public viewing in a five state area.
The Ruisinger telescope, named after the ASKC member who designed it, has a 30" mirror capable of gathering over 11,900 times the light received by the human eye alone. This means the Ruisinger telescope is capable of seeing both bright and faint objects ranging from something as bright as the moon and as faint as the Andromeda Galaxy over 2,500,000 light-years away, which translates into almost 15,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 15 quintillion miles away!
Powell Observatory and its telescopes are available for public viewing, club member private use, and for on-going research projects. In addition to the 30” Ruisinger, the observatory also has a 16" and a 12.5” Dobsonian telescope for public programs along with a computer-controlled 12" Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope dedicated for CCD astrophotography use by club members and school science projects. The observatory is staffed by ASKC volunteers and is open to the public every Saturday night from the beginning of May through the end of October. The Star Bright Saturday Night Programs begin at dusk and include program presentations on astronomy, tours of the observatory, and (if the skies are clear) viewing through the various telescopes of the moon, planets, stars, star clusters and more! A donation of $6 per adult and $4 per child is suggested to help support the observatory and allow it to continue operations open to the public.
The observatory is also available year-round for private group reservations. Reservations may be made for any size group ranging from family get-togethers, birthday parties, anniversaries, church groups, business groups, scout troops, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and all the way to college science and astronomy groups! All are guaranteed an evening to remember, guided by experienced amateur astronomers for an evening under the stars, looking at the moon, planets, star clusters, and perhaps a distant galaxy. In order to support the public education programs at the observatory, we ask for a reservation fee of $100 and $5 per person for the private evening program. Additional information is available between the hours of 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM Central time by calling the ASKC reservation coordinator at: 913- 438-3825 ; or through e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.