Observatory Park Site Plans



Old site with buildings which have since been removed (except for the roll-top observatory):

Removed Buildings

 

Aerial and side views of future building:

Aerial_Future Observatory ModelSideview_Future Observatory Model

 

The buildings that were at the site were removed December 27-28, 2001. The buildings were not suitable for the uses outlined in the master plan, and the cost to refurbish them would have been prohibitive.

Site buildings serving the following functions are being planned:

1.) Optical telescopic viewing:

    a.)A large optical telescope, 16" reflector, will provide viewing for the general public and students. Details of the Moon, planets, star clusters, planetary nebulae, and distant galaxies will be seen in awe inspiring real time. This telescope can be used for research by students after public viewing.

    b.) Open viewing space for telescope owners; instruction on telescope use and the night sky will be provided. Amateur astronomy clubs such as NOVAC can use it for night viewing

    c.) There will be a small observatory building with automated weather sensing to house several telescopes for remote computer driven observing.

2.) Radio telescope viewing:

    a.) Two 16’ dish radio telescopes will be installed, one at this park and one at MIT’s Haystack Observatory. The two will be connected with interferometry giving added resolution and will be available to all students, beginners and advanced.

    b.) Analemma Society and George Mason University will provide a public outreach program containing information about radio astronomy and ongoing astronomy and space science programs.

3.) Education:

    A K-12 Education Program to introduce beginning students to the ancient astronomical instruments and techniques that were responsible for our early understanding of the Universe and led the way to the development of science. Advanced sections of this program will utilize the optical and radio telescopes. Students will be required to build a sundial and a telescope. The program will be administered similar to the Boy Scout merit badge program; after school hours and pins upon completion of a set of experiments. After successfully completing all experiments we plan to offer the student a scholarship to college.

4.) Sundial garden:

    We plan to install sixty replicated sundials from around the world with an emphases on the analemma sundial. This sundial keeps both hourly time and yearly time; it is a calendar. It also corrects sun time to civil time The garden will provide an enjoyable environment to observe daytime astronomy, learn about the beginnings of telling time and observe the two fundamental motions of Earth, daily rotation around its axis and yearly revolution around the Sun.

5.) Museum:

    A museum will house a display of man’s use of the sky for determining:

    a.) location of celestial objects and position on Earth. This will involve ancient/recent navigation methods and instruments culminating with the development of GPS and Cold War associations.

    b.) New World astronomical calendars. Didactic model displays will explain New World astronomical sites located in the Americas.