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Etelman Observatory

News & Events

Etelman Observatory Re-Opens with New Gadgets

More than 30 residents and educators from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) celebrated the reopening of the refurbished Etelman Observatory and Science Center on St. Thomas. Guests were able to view the new dome, the new telescope, and the refurbished home. Few individuals got the opportunity to test the telescopes, viewing the stars and the planets despite meteorological interferences.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the university to rededicate the house and make it available to the public, to let them know what the university is capable of,” said UVI President David Hall.

The Etelman house was renovated to accommodate the public, students and guests. The observatory now includes a revolutionary, robotically-controlled telescope diametrically half a meter with a new computer system.

“You get students up here and they put their eye on (the telescope) and they kind of sit there for a second before they go ‘wow,’” said David Morris, associate professor of physics and director of the observatory.

“This is the sort of facility that big universities love. It’s manned by students who can do research that can be published in journals, and it’s so accessible. It’s a unique spot and a unique facility,” he added.

The observatory was refurbished after a 10-year project and several grants and monetary gifts. The original dome was detached during a hurricane. The former telescope was also in need of replacement.

The original 15-inch telescope was "a great telescope for its time in 1961, but just outdated,” said UVI physics professor David Smith.

For more information on this St. Croix Source article by the Source staff, click here.