Welcome to ORION — Astronomy and Physics Education in the Tennessee Valley


ORION is an amateur science and astronomy club centered in Oak Ridge, TN that was founded in April 1974 by a group of scientists at the United States Department of Energy facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We serve Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and the counties of Anderson, Knox, and Roane.

We meet monthly at the historic Grove Theater at 123 Randolph Road, Oak Ridge, TN. We meet at 7:00 PM (1900 hours) on the third Wednesday of each month for coffee and conversation, and our program begins 15 minutes thereafter.

Our original goal was to perform correlated, instrumented observations of atmospheric and astrophysical phenomena. This was sparked by the “Brown Mountain Lights” of North Carolina. Therefore ORION was originally an acronym for the Oak Ridge Isochronous Observation Network. Since then we have expanded in many directions including the development of instruments to make observations in geophysics and geology, to study meteor impact and fossil sites of East Tennessee, and, of course enjoy astronomy, astrophysics and the simple beauty of stars and constellations.

With interests in both optical and radio astronomy, our members have built 25 telescopes, and launched/recovered instrumented balloons containing photographic and electronics equipment that reached altitudes of over 100,000 feet. ORION has sponsored numerous public astronomy lectures and star parties and it is closely associated with the Tamke-Allan Observatory (TAO) in Rockwood, TN.

ORION’s mission is to support science research, teaching, and amateur astronomy in East Tennessee, and therefore we are closely associated with and support TAO by volunteering to host their public events, share our knowledge of the skies with a variety of telescopes, and help provide intellectually stimulating programs at the observatory. ORION works to share the wonders of the cosmos and the culture of science to people from all walks of life.

Members are scientists, engineers, technicians, and others with varied talents and expertise. Over half have telescopes, many are amateur radio operators, and some have a technical interest in astrophotography.

ORION has working relationships with several organizations, including museums and amateur astronomy groups. Membership is open to individuals who will actively contribute their time and ideas. Our annual membership dues are $20.00 and student discounts are available.

At our monthly meetings (usually the third Wednesday of the month), we sponsor lectures on interesting topics covering a wide range of technical and scientific areas. We also have news/discussion group open to the public where our members try to inform, while maintaining a friendly, cooperative spirit. Click here to register and join the free ORIONastronomy news group.

Checkout our meetings (you are invited!!!) and how to find us.

Have a look at our newsletters (delivered free to Our Members and Friends).

You can receive our email ORIONastronomy News Feed and receive our newsletter, The Trapezium:

“Click to join ORIONastronomy News Feed”

ORION, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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