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UT observatory undergoes renovations

The Brooks Observatory at The University of Toledo is receiving a new telescope, replacing one that is more than 100 years old.

The Brooks Observatory hosts an array of small telescopes, including the six-inch Brashear refracting telescope, has been on UT’s campus since 1931. The observatory is used primarily for public viewing and undergraduate instruction.

UT's Brashear telescope

UT’s Brashear telescope

The Brashear telescope will be replaced by a new Celestron 14 Edge HD, mounted on a Paramount MX+ mount and placed on top of a Pier-Tech 3 pedestal.

In order to accommodate the sightlines of the new telescope the observatory, located on top of McMaster Hall on UT’s Main Campus, will be significantly modified. The Brooks Observatory will be under construction for approximately four months.

“The current telescope in the dome is more than 100 years old and was originally housed on top of University Hall,” said Alexander Mak, associate director for UT’s Ritter Planetarium. “It is a historically significant telescope, having been manufactured by a very significant craftsman.”

Dr. John Alfred Brashear, a late American astronomer and instrument builder, dedicated his time to manufacturing astronomical and scientific instruments.

The Brashear telescope, which has been in McMaster Hall since 1987, will be placed in storage.

The project is funded through support from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and an endowment established by the late Helen and Elgin Brooks.

The updated facility will be a state-of-the-art instructional observatory that will continue the mission of undergraduate education and public outreach. New undergraduate laboratory exercises will be developed, and more public observing opportunities will be scheduled once work is completed.

During the renovations the Ritter Observatory, adjacent to the Brooks Observatory, will be open to the public on the first Friday of each month, immediately following the regularly scheduled 8:30 p.m. planetarium program.

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 26, 2015)
WTOL 11 (June 26, 2015)
WFMJ (June 26, 2015)
The Herald-Dispatch (June 27, 2015)
WBNS 10 (June 29, 2015)
Space Watchtower (July 9, 2015)


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