Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2003

Whitworth to Install Observatory Dome Sept. 18 for Top-of-the-Line Telescope

Whitworth College's growing science program will soon expand upward with the installation of a dome atop the science building; the new structure will house one of the most advanced telescopes in the Spokane area. The project is funded by grants from the Carl M. Hansen Foundation and the Johnston-Fix Foundation.

A crane will be used to install the dome on Thursday, Sept. 18, at approximately 8 a.m. at the Eric Johnston Science Center on the Whitworth campus. The scheduled 8 a.m. lift is subject to wind and weather conditions. Walker Construction will begin rigging the dome Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the Thursday-morning placement.

The telescope is scheduled to be fully functional in summer 2004. The Celestron 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope contains a CCD (charge-coupled device) camera that is capable of compensating for light pollution, and is even capable of viewing objects in our solar system during daylight hours.

Richard Stevens, chair of Whitworth's physics department, says that Whitworth faculty and students will use the telescope in college astronomy courses, and local high-school students and amateur astronomers will have extensive access to the robotic telescope through the Internet.

"The telescope will provide a wonderful opportunity for our students and for students all over the region to explore the universe from the comfort of their own residence-hall rooms and classrooms," Stevens says.

The project was spearheaded by Stevens, and several other Whitworth professors and students, including John Larkin, assistant professor of physics; Tom Hillman, adjunct professor of physics; Kent Jones, associate professor of math and computer science; and students Seth Hubbert, '04, and John Lesh and Jessica Chapman, both '05. Shadle Park High School science teacher Steve Klopsch, a 1999 Whitworth alumnus, and Lynn Noland, Whitworth's director of sponsored programs, also assisted with the project.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Contacts:

Richard Stevens, physics department chair and associate professor, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4508, rstevens@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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