Brown University's Ladd Observatory Celebrates 125 Years Studying The Stars

Oct 20, 2016

The 15-foot-long telescope at Ladd has helped Rhode Islanders witness many cosmic events. David Targan, Ladd’s Director, said the observatory remains much as it was when it was built in the Victorian era, so visitors can still see what it was like to look at the night sky in 1891.

“There are observatories all over the world but none or very few that are as well preserved, I would say, from that era as Ladd,” said Targan.

Targan said Ladd Observatory was a favorite haunt of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror writer and amateur astronomer, who spent nights there reading, writing, and looking up at the stars.

“It’s a pretty significant site for people who are interested in the history of HP Lovecraft because it’s where he got a lot of his ideas and many of them have kind of a theme of space or mystery.”

Targan said Lovecraft went so often, he even had his own key.

Ladd staff will commemorate the 125th anniversary all week with talks by scientists and astronomers, nighttime viewings, and birthday cake.