In a “first light” ceremony on September 21, UNC Pembroke unveiled its new observatory and telescope to the public.
UNCP student Amanda King takes a look during the ‘first light’ unveiling of the university’s new telescope.
More than 100 showed up to gaze into the stars using UNCP’s new 16-inch, 800-power telescope and several smaller telescopes that were set up around the observatory.
“This is the realization of a dream,” Dr. Jose D’Arruda said. “We will make the observatory available to the public in viewings on the second Tuesday of each month.”
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors encouraged students and the public to take advantage of the opportunity to reach for the stars.
“This is what the university experience is all about, expanding your horizons,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I hope that our students and the community take full advantage of this.”
The telescope has a global positioning system and a computer to locate planets, stars and galaxies, Dr. D’Arruda said.
“This is a great step for Pembroke,” he said. “This gives us a chance to do real astronomy. Maybe we’ll find a new comet and name it UNCP.”
Prof. Jose D’Arruda shows off the new dome of the observatory.
Dr. D’Arruda has taught physics and astronomy for 31 years at UNCP. The youngest stargazer Tuesday night was Sean Dooling, age four and the son of physics Professor Dr. Tom Dooling.
The stars still hold great appeal for the young and old.
The observatory is located behind Oxendine Science Building on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. For public viewing opportunities, please go online to www.uncp.edu/observatory/index_observatory.htm