Our Mission

Hyde Memorial Observatory was built and is equipped and operated entirely by donations. It is devoted exclusively to public viewing, completely free of admission charge, staffed only by volunteers. Hyde is open every Saturday evening, year round.

Hyde Memorial Observatory is operated by knowledgable volunteers. Equipment and programs are funded by donations.

The observatory was made possible by a group of interested citizens led by Carroll Moore and a generous donation from Mrs. Leicaster Hyde, in honor of her late husband.

The observatory opened in 1977 and continues through contributions from organizations and individuals who love the stars.


  • 1974

    First community observatory meetings

  • July, 1976

    Observatory design finalized

  • November, 1976

    Flora Hyde donated $50,000 to observatoryproject

  • April 1, 1977

    Hyde Observatory groundbreaking

  • November 6, 1977

    Hyde Observatory dedication

  • February 26, 1979

    Solar eclipse – viewed by over 500 visitors

  • December, 1986

    Halley’s comet, Hyde time capsule

  • November 10, 2002

    Hyde’s 25th anniversary

  • March, 2003

    Solar heating system replaced with solar photovoltaic panels

  • 2005

    NexStar GPS-XLT 11″ acquired to replace the original 8″ Cave Classical Cassegrain scope

  • February, 2017

    Original Celestron 14″ replaced with with C14 and MI-500 mount

  • September 29, 2017

    Hyde’s 40th anniversary


Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Thursday, April 21, 1977, for the Hyde Memorial Observatory located in Holmes Park, Lincoln.

Public observatories are relatively unusual in the United States, particularly in a city the size of Lincoln. This building, however, implicitly utilizes one of Lincoln’s unusual resources–its clear, stable atmosphere–which provides a high percentage of usable nights each year.

Its location at Holmes Park precisely meets the criteria established by the planning committee: it is sufficiently far from the center of Lincoln that lights will not cause the sky to be too bright, and yet, it isn’t so far from any part of the city to be difficult to reach. The building was designed by The Clark Enersen Partners, which donated its services as a contribution to the project.

It is available for use by the general public, students, amateur astronomers and other special groups. The observation space includes an unusual rolling roof, designed by The Clark Enersen Partners, which will permit a clear view of the skies in all directions, and will allow the space to be weather tight during non-use periods. The building also contains a 50-person lecture room and rest rooms.

See this page for a more detailed history of the observatory and the Prairie Astronomy Club.