New Observatory

New Observatory, 1970 (top left) and 2010 (click thumbnails for larger images)

The majority of the new observatory was built in the summer of 1969 but some finishing touches were added afterward.  It opened for full use during the 1970-1971 academic year and is located near the orchards at Saint John's University.  The new building and equipment cost $25,000, and some of the old equipment was transferred from the old observatory to the new.

Upon its completion, Father Melchior gave three practical reasons for having the observatory on campus: it is a laboratory for students taking astronomy classes, it gives students an opportunity to use astronomical equipment, and it provides the opportunity for students to do valuable research work.

Features of the new observatory include a preparation room and observation deck.  The preparation room uses dimmed lighting to help its users' eyes adjust more quickly to darkness.  The observation deck contains five telescopes, as well as a roof that may be rolled back over the roof of the preparation room.  This feature allows one to have a full view of the sky but also protect the telescopes during poor weather.


Bibliography:

Special thanks to Ariel Smelter '12 for drafting this text.