EAC Discovery Park Campus resumes Saturday evening telescope observing

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC Discovery Park Campus: The Discovery Park Campus has resumed guided tours and operation of the 20″ Tinsley Telescope in the Gov Aker Observatory on Saturday evenings.

Contributed Article/Courtesy Paul Anger

SAFFORD – The Eastern Arizona College Discovery Park Campus is excited to announce that it has resumed its guided tours and operation of the amazing 20” Tinsley Telescope in the Gov Aker Observatory on Saturday evenings.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC Discovery Park Campus: Bob Hiatt will be on hand to share his knowledge of astronomy.

Bob Hiatt, member of the Desert SkyGazers Astronomy Club, and operator of the Discovery Park Telescope for well over a decade will be available to share the wonders of the universe with the public.  Expert in operating the massive telescope, he is also an experienced astronomer and can share his knowledge and excitement of the amazing night skies with amateurs and experts, adults and children. 

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC Discovery Park Campus: The 20″ Tinsley Telescope was a gift from the University of Arizona.

The 20” Tinsley Telescope in the Gov Aker Observatory at the EAC Discovery Park Campus has somewhat of a mysterious history.  Originally built in 1963 for “the Department of the Navy”, it was custom designed to offer up to 154 power – that’s about 15 times stronger than a good pair of binoculars!  It began its service on the Hawaiian Islands but curiously was shut down shortly after installation.  It was donated to the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory at the Kitt Peak Observatory and operated there for many years, then as the world-class observatory at “Discovery Park” was being constructed, the University of Arizona donated it and the large familiar metal dome that currently protects it, to the newly built Gov Aker Observatory at Discovery Park.   It’s been speculated that the telescope was originally intended to “keep an eye on” early space satellites that Russia was putting up into orbit, but satellites move far too quickly for a telescope to view, and we’ll probably never know about its very short military career.

Join us and discover the beauty of the EAC Discovery Park Campus; open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 4 to 9 p.m. for evening sky viewing.  It is fun for all ages, with no charge, and lots of fun and interesting things to see and do.

The EAC Discovery Park Campus is free to the public and offers a variety of activities for the whole family; night-time telescope viewing, exploring the Graham County Historical Society artifacts displays, the History of Astronomy gallery, the Mill’s Collection of pre-historic Native American pottery and artifacts, the new and whimsical “Jerry Berg Woodcarving” displays, and, of course, the “Polaris” Shuttle Simulator ride featuring a “Tour of the Universe!” There’s something for the whole family!

All EAC Discovery Park Campus staff wear face masks and facilities are regularly sanitized.  All visitors are asked to wear a face mask and make every effort in social distancing.

For more information call the EAC Discovery Park Campus at (928) 428-6260, or visit www.eac.edu/discoverypark.

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