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Rainwater Planetarium & Observatory


One Fine Place
French Camp, MS 39745 USA


Edwin Faughn









Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium is an educational outreach of French Camp Academy. It is located under one of the few remaining dark skies in the southeastern United States and just off the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway near the village of French Camp, Mississippi. This unique facility offers a window into the splendor of the heavens that few around the country can offer. We provide day and nighttime astronomy related programming designed for a variety of different groups and organizations including but not limited to universities, schools, colleges, science and nature centers, senior adult and youth groups, conferences, international groups, scouts, civic groups, churches and other faith based organizations.

Rainwater is home to one of the largest collections of powerful telescopes in the southeast. These telescopes enable our guests to see the planets, Moon stars and galaxies close-up as well as spectacular solar prominences and sunspots on the Sun! We also have a planetarium used to teach stellar and planetary motion, constellations and mythology during the daytime and in the event of evening inclement weather.

We are excited about our new indoor exhibits containing an impressive meteorite collection with such objects as a Mars meteorite, tektites and a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russia in 2013! In addition, we have an amazing collection of rocks, minerals asteroid models, space science art exhibit and other astronomy related displays. There are also a number of large scale outdoor exhibits such as solar system scale models and solstice-equinox alignment exhibits.

During the spring we host our annual Midsouth Stargaze and Astronomy Conference that attracts amateur and professional astronomers from around the country. It is an exciting time of fun, fellowship, observing and fascinating presentations by mainstream professional research astronomers! We also host a free monthly public program every second Friday of the month.

For our overnight guests we have a large camping area with a pavilion, picnic tables, men’s and women’s showers and bathrooms, WIFI access, electricity, 14 bed air conditioned bunk house, four grills and five campfire pit areas with surround seating. In addition, there is a Bed and Breakfast, Council House Cafe, Lodge, Memphis Guest House and other additional lodging located within a mile of the observatory.