New Observatory Gets a Boost
Just above Umpqua Community College’s campus, near the track, plans are being made for a new remote observatory, one that will be accessible online to homes and classrooms all over Douglas County.
So far, more than $56,000 has been raised for the observatory, including a $20,000 grant from the Associated Students of Umpqua Community College and other financial support from the Umpqua Astronomers, a local astronomy club, Wolf Creek Job Corps, and a generous anonymous donor.
When completed, the observatory will be equipped with powerful telescopes and planetary imaging cameras, which will allow lab experiences to be live-streamed to UCC students, as well as to K-12 students and private citizens all over Douglas County, opening up new opportunities for learning and understanding of complex scientific concepts.
“Students throughout Douglas County will be able to progress through unique astronomy learning modules designed both for our observatory and for Oregon’s earth and space science curriculum,” explained UCC astronomy professor Dr. Paul Morgan, who is spearheading the observatory project. “Synchronous virtual classroom experiences will engage and inspire students and private citizens to learn more about the universe we inhabit, establishing UCC as a leader in astronomy outreach.”
The total cost of the observatory is expected to be about $127,000. Morgan is currently seeking grants and private donations to fund completion of the observatory, which is scheduled for spring 2014, depending on fundraising. To donate to the observatory, call the UCC Foundation at 541-440-7678 or visit the Foundation website.