Skip to Main Content

Georgetown University Observatory

This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Georgetown University Archives for research on the Observatory

Archival Resources

The archival materials listed here are intended as a starting point for research. They are available for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library; use the Aeon request system to request materials and to schedule a research appointment to examine them. 

Researchers are also encouraged to explore the descriptions of other records in the University Archives through the Georgetown Archival Resources site. Use the search box or the search icon in the gray row at the top of the screen to begin exploring. Additional search words can be added to the results screen using the Filter Results box to the right. 

As with any archival research project, please note that not all material in the University Archives relevant to research on the Observatory is described on Georgetown Archival Resources site; Archives staff are happy to discuss research projects and to direct researchers to additional resources.




  • Observatory Files, 1831-1971. GTA- 000193. 49.5 linear feet



Contains the Description of the Observatory and the Description and Use of the Transit Instrument, and Meridian Circle. New York, Edward Dunigan & Brother. 151 Fulton Street [two copies]. Includes drawings of south elevation, plan of ground floor, section from west to east, and transit instrument.






  • University Archives Photographic Collection. GTA.000109. 30 linear feet. No inventory is available but this collection contains multiple folders of mainly black-and-white images of both the interior and exterior of the Observatory




Audio Recordings


Click on the links in blue below to access recordings of Father Francis J. Heyden, S.J. speaking on astronomy-related topics.

  • Georgetown University Forum
    • #300 Saucers: Myth, Mirage or Martians?, 08-24-1952. Featuring Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director, Astronomical Observatory, Georgetown University, Mr. Frank C. Waldrop, Executive Editor, The Times-Herald, Washington D.C. and Mr. Arthur Varela, Civilian Aide, United States Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
    • #431 Radio Comes to Astronomy, 02-20-1955. Featuring Dr. John P. Hagen, Director of the Division of Radio Astronomy, United States Naval Research Laboratory and Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director, Georgetown College Observatory
    • #455: Man Makes his Own Satellite, 08-07-1955. Featuring Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director of the Georgetown College Observatory and Mr. Robert C. Cameron, Astronomer, Georgetown Observatory Solar Eclipse Computation Center
    • #665 Philosophy of Science in the Space Age, 08-16-1959. Featuring Dr. Francis Owen Rice, Head, Department of Chemistry, Catholic University, Dr. Raymond J. Seeger, Deputy Assistant Director for Physical and Mathematical Sciences, National Science Foundation and Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director, Georgetown College Observatory
    • #707 The Man in Space. 06-05-1960. Featuring Dr. Charles S. Sheldon II, Techincal Director of House of Representatives Committee on Science and Astronautics, Dr. John R. Olive, Assistant Executive Director, American Institute of Biological Sciences and Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director of Georgetown College Observatory, Georgetown University
    • #809 New Development in International Space Research 05-16-1962. Featuring Mr. Hugh Odishaw, National Academy of Sciences, Dr. John P. Hagen, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director, Georgetown College Observatory
    • #868 Why the Moon Shot? 07-02-1962. Featuring Hon. Thomas M. Pelly, Rep. Member of Congress, 1st District, Washington,, and Member, House Committee on Science and Astronautics, Mr. Edward C. Welsh, Executive Secretary, National Aeronautics and Space Council and Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., Director, Georgetown College Observatory



Creative Commons   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details of our policy