As a Greenville County Schools facility, the Daniel Observatory is open to the public only during special events.
The Charles E. Daniel Observatory features a very historic 23″ refractor telescope, the eighth largest of its kind in the nation. The Great Refractor was completed in 1882 for Princeton University and was the main instrument in their Halsted Observatory. The lens was figured by Alvan Clark and Sons of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1933, the telescope was entirely rebuilt by J. W. Fecker Company. The U.S. Naval Observatory owned the telescope from 1964 until 1978, when it was offered to the School District of Greenville County.
Funds provided by the Charles E. Daniel Family Foundation were used in renovating the telescope and in constructing the observatory building to house the telescope. The telescope is used to educate, to inspire, and to entertain visitors. On select Friday evenings, the observatory is open for limited public observation, in conjunction with programs shown in the planetarium.