CSU Stanislaus Observatory

8 01 2012
CSU-Stanislaus Observatory at Sunset

CSU-Stanislaus Observatory, January 6, 2012. Photo credit: JR

The Nora and Hashem Naraghi Hall of Science is a relatively new addition to the campus of Cal State Stanislaus. Designed by Perkins + Will (Hi, Ajla!) and completed in 2007 (see construction photos here), the building houses the departments of physics, biology, chemistry, and geology. As you can see from the photo above, it also houses the campus observatory. We made a quick stop at the building while in the area last week, but since it was the end of the day—and the middle of winter break—there wasn’t much more we could do than watch the late afternoon sun reflect off the dome [see my flickr page for a few more photos].

According to the CSUS observatory’s facebook page, the dome covers a 21-inch telescope that is occasionally made available for public viewings. The public events page hasn’t been updated recently but I imagine Prof. Christopher De Vries in the CSUS Physics Department has information about any outreach activities related to the observatory.

For those of you waiting to see the results of my Yosemite viewing experiment, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer. The air quality in the Central Valley was not good last week. Although there were several places between Modesto and Turlock that should have provided prime mountain viewing opportunities, all we saw was smog. The haze stayed with us well above the 3000-foot elevation, as evidenced in the photos from our trip to Yosemite Valley last Friday.

Wallpaper Wednesday

4 01 2012

The Earth's Moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS

In celebration of GRAIL’s successful dual-insertion into lunar orbit this weekend, I give you…the Moon!

For the educators out there, I also give you the link to the Discovery Guide: GRAIL Mission to the Moon on JPL’s Education site.

[Click on the Moon to download wallpaper from JPL’s Space Images collection]

Visiting Arecibo Observatory

3 01 2012
photograph arecibo observatory tourists

Peace Corps Reunion at the Arecibo Observatory, 1987. Photo Courtesy: Juan E. Rosario

I can’t resist sharing this tourist photo of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The photo shows a group of former Peace Corps volunteers standing in front of the superstructure of the 305-meter radio telescope. The volunteers had reconvened on the island in July 1987 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 4-S Brazil Peace Corps. Apparently, this particular group of volunteers received their physical and health training in Puerto Rico before being shipped off to work in Brazil. The reunion allowed them an opportunity to visit “the old familiar places” as well as sites like the Arecibo Observatory, which hadn’t yet opened when they were training in the nearby village.