In 1962, Harry I Etelman donated his house and the astronomical observatory he had built within it, to the, then, College of the Virgin Islands. The original telescope was used as a teaching and public outreach instrument in the latter half of the 20th century, as the College of the Virgin Islands grew into the University of the Virgin Islands. In 1999, the College of Science and Math, reflecting its ongoing commitment to excellence in scientific teaching and research, began a renovation of the Etelman Observatory to upgrade the existing 15-inch amateur telescope housed in the observatory to a fully automated, robotically controlled and queue-driven 0.5m research-grade telescope. As part of this renovation project, the Etelman’s original house was converted into an observatory control and science education center. The New Etelman Observatory serves as a center for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education excellence, a venue for public science outreach activities, and a fundamental astrophysics and geophysics research station.
Located at the top of Estate Bonne Resolution (elevation 1380ft) on St Thomas, VI (18˚21' N; 64˚, 56' W) the Etelman Observatory is the eastern-most observatory in the Americas and is the only robotically controlled research-grade telescope within 3000 miles of St Thomas.