Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer At The Franklin Institute

Watch today’s Philly 101 video to meet one of Philadelphia’s beloved public figures, Derrick Pitts, the Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute.

The Franklin Institute’s Joel N. Bloom Observatory, operated and maintained by Pitts and his staff, treats visitors to day and nighttime viewing with its 10-inch Zeiss refractor and four Celestron CPC 800 GPS Computerized Telescopes. The instruments provide visitors with views of most planets and bright stars, several star clusters and nebulae and even a few galaxies.

It is also one of a handful of observatories in the whole country to provide optically safe, real-time direct observation of solar activity. Pretty cool.

Meet Derrick and find out what he wishes more people knew about in Philadelphia, and why.

Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th Street

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Leave a comment directly on the blog


  1. Dear Dr. Pitts,
    I observed either the birth or end of a star last night. I got back home late 01:00AM EST. was smoking in back yard. Around 01:30 at about 40 45Deg. off my horizon looking north I I saw a very bright star appear to the right of the big dipper scoop. The bright blueish star got bigger and brighter and whiter. Then an intense point of light.
    all of this transpired in like 15 secs. I live in Drexel Hill 216 Burmont Rd. PA 19026. Could you or one of your colleges please look in to this; or has anyone else in the astronomy community reported this event; and at least hit me back. Or call for more info.
    Chris Powers

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