UBarU has received a major gift from a family philanthropic foundation to create the UBarU Youth Astronomical Observatory. The primary purpose of the gift is to enhance youth science and astronomy education.
While visiting the UBarU exhibit at the 2017 Texas Night Sky Festival in Dripping Springs this past March, our benefactor learned of UBarU's International Dark Sky Park designation, and how astronomy is a vital part of our summer youth camp curriculum, promoting and preserving the night skies. He concluded that UBarU shares his foundation's goal of supporting youth education, offering UBarU an observatory that will significantly upgrade our capabilities for astronomy education. In addition, the observatory will benefit other events and groups with an interest in stargazing.
The observatory will be located in a light-protected viewing area just off the loop trail to the west of the barn. It will feature a 16’ x 24’ observing section with a motorized sliding roof allowing exposure to the sky. There will also be a 16’ x 8’ temperature-controlled warm room extension to shelter users and visitors from the elements when needed. It will contain two high-quality telescopes that are well-equipped for visual use. The first is a PlaneWave 12.5” CDK mounted on a motorized fixed pier; the other is a Sky-Watcher 16”, GOTO Dobsonian that is movable within the viewing section or can be taken to other locations when desired. Both will be equipped with Revolution video cameras capable of streaming real-time images to computer screens via Wi-Fi.
The observatory is expected to be ready in August. We can't wait to show what can be accomplished when someone with a big heart and the means to makes a difference is willing to act with UBarU for the benefit of a common interest.