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Post Info TOPIC: Bannan observatory


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Bannan observatory

Seattle University houses a resident unknown to most of its students. Up a few steep flights of stairs in the Bannan Centre for Science and Engineering and through a locked door sits an astronomy observation point worth around $70,000 at the time of its creation. The tower offers a 360 degree view of Capitol Hill and the greater downtown area. Inside the metal dome is one of the largest telescopes in Seattle. While the telescope is a unique resource for the SU community, it is not currently used for scientific research or general observation.

Position: Latitude 47.609417 Longitude -122.318318
The Bannan Building is part of the Bannan Centre for Science and Engineering.

"Our telescope is larger than the one at UW, but because it is difficult to get to and because of the nature of the Bannan building, it is not being used to its full potential" - Joanne Hughes Clark, assistant professor of physics.

Joanne Hughes Clark holds a degree in astrophysics and is currently researching star formations, globular clusters and galactic astronomy. She often teaches Physics 101, which is a core science course with an emphasis in astronomy.

The telescope was constructed in the 90s with a grant given to Professor Emeritus John Toutonghi. The 14-inch Celestron Telescope has a computer drive that electronically finds planetary and star placement.
Not including the price of eyepieces, construction of the deck or dome, the telescope alone is valued around $6,500.
When the telescope was placed on top of Bannan, the architecture of the building was somewhat disregarded. There is a strong vibration throughout the building that causes the entire building to sway. While this is not dangerous every building moves slightly it causes major problems when using a very sensitive piece of equipment such as a telescope. Walking along the observation deck or moving the telescope causes the sway to become more accentuated, making it difficult to focus the lens.

"Finding a new home for the telescope is an ongoing project. We want to move it to a different roof. The people from Facilities have to see which building sways less. Also, we would like to make it accessible to more people it is difficult to get onto the roof" - Joanne Hughes Clark.

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