How We Got Started. Where We Are Now.

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 is a supporter of Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop.

Trees - pink sky backgroundORION’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.  There are also plenty of us that come from other non-technical backgrounds, whose hobby just happens to be astronomy.

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.