In August of 2004, George Mason University (GMU) began construction on a new building dedicated to research. It is currently referred to as Research Hall. On the top of this building, the administration placed a small astronomical observatory, capable of supporting a good-sized optical telescope. The observatory was officially opened in January 2007. The observatory is currently home to a 32″ Ritchey-Chretien Telescope, 12″ Cassegrain (Mancini), 6″ Solar Telescope, 16″ Dobsonian (Strickland), 2 Meade 12″ SCTs and 2 telescopes from Mason’s original observatory.
While the main purpose of the observatory is to meet the educational needs of GMU’s students, it will also be a special place shared with our Washington, D.C., community. Evenings “under the stars” each month will be offered to the region’s residents. During these special nights, attendees will enjoy stimulating presentations on the mysteries of outer space, given by our world class astronomer researchers and instructors. Science teachers for grades K-12 will be invited to bring their students for an astronomy class in the star-studded sky at George Mason University. Views from our observatory will also be shared by millions of people around the world via the internet.
In order to create these educational opportunities, we are seeking donations. For a gift of $1000 or more you may have your name listed on a plaque inside the main lobby of Research Hall. GMU faculty and staff were among the first to generously respond with donations toward buying a large telescope (80-cm diameter mirror) and ancillary equipment (including CCD-camera, computers, computer interface, etc.). The Department of Physics and Astronomy is enthusiastically seeking additional funding for these purchases.
George Mason University is also seeking people and companies who would like to know more about the related and highly visible naming opportunities:
- Tower in Research Hall
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Harold Geller
Department of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science