The Department of Physics and Astronomy unveiled a new building this semester, housing a new collection of telescopes. The building features a retractable roof and replaces the deck that previously housed the University’s telescopes.
The University’s telescopes were previously exposed to the elements, so the new building allows for better protection and maintenance. The structure also features a new set of telescopes, including some larger telescopes for more advanced astronomy courses.
“This allows for much better observing at all levels,” Michele Thornley, Department of Physics and Astronomy chair, said. “We have more flexibility in the kinds of observing we can do from our deck.”
The project has been in the works for approximately four years and was completed this summer. During the planning process, the Department of Physics and Astronomy was faced with the task of finding a company to complete the unique project of building a structure with a retractable roof.
The Isaac J. Tressler Fund for Astronomy financed the construction. The Tressler Fund is also used to bring in speakers, support students who travel and complete astronomy research, as well as for construction and the purchase of new equipment.
“We are very grateful to the Tresslers, and we continue to connect with Isaac Tressler’s children through this fund,” Thornley said.
The building and new telescopes will enhance both introductory and advanced physics and astronomy courses, all of which use the Observatory. The Observatory is also open to the University and Lewisburg communities, through open houses each semester and community events.
The new facility is currently open with new telescopes being used in introductory courses, and a set of more advanced telescopes will be available for courses in the spring semester.