Clay Telescope

Category Campus Spotlight


Denzel Class of '24
Authored on June 02, 2022


It is a well known fact that astronomy has a very deep rooted history within Harvard.

Whether it be the renowned faculty who work day and night to reveal details about the stars, the students who are curious and passionate about what the universe truly is, or even the Harvard Computers – a group of highly skilled women who processed a significant amount of astronomical data at the university, astronomy has a very secured connection with Harvard and the people who attend. As such, it should be no surprise that Harvard is home to the Clay Telescope.

An astronomer in a dome building

Professor John Kovac utilizing the Clay Telescope Photo taken by Rick Friedman

Professor John Kovac utilizing the Clay Telescope. Photo taken by Rick Friedman

Situated at the very top of the Science Center, the Clay Telescope is a massive DFM engineered telescope outfitted with a DFM filter and 50mm Astrodon filters, acting as an ever watchful eye aimed at the cosmos above.

This piece of impressive technology is able to record and detail extremely distant stars with a great deal of accuracy, as well as help reveal the existence of new exoplanets through techniques such as astronomical transits. For all my astronomy classes so far that I’ve taken (namely Astronomy 1 and 16), I’ve utilized this space in order to see the stars and better understand the universe around us.

While I have spent a great deal of time (and all nighters) at the Clay Telescope for labs and astronomical observations, there’s a strange calm I get being up there in general. Whether it’s because I’m so high up from the ground or because I’m able to see all of Cambridge and parts of Boston from my vantage point, my problems at the moment seem so insignificant when I look up at the night sky and bear witness to the hundreds of thousands of stars that shine up above.

A large photo with multiple buildings in it

This is the Science Center where the Clay Telescope resides atop of!

Especially when you go to a school like Harvard and are participating in a difficult concentration or secondary such as Astronomy, it’s quite nice being able to calm down, relax, and reflect when it’s just you and the stars above you.

Denzel Class of '24

Hey everyone! My name is Denzel and I’m a current junior from Boston, Massachusetts who is living in Currier House. By the time you’re reading this, I’ve already declared myself as a Mechanical Engineering concentrator with a secondary in Astronomy and am neck deep in psets and projects.