The Bette M. and William R. Weaver Student Observatory

MIRA: Exploring the Universe
from the Central Coast


The page you are viewing is taken from an exhibit called MIRA: Exploring the Universe from the Central Coast.
The exhibit ran from 1 July through 24 September 2000 at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

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Although public tours of the MIRA Oliver Observing Station are scheduled every month in the summer, a need for a more easily accessed observatory for public viewing was long recognized. When MIRA obtained the Ft. Ord site, the opportunity to convert a small building to a student observatory presented itself.

The renovations to the building were made possible by a grant from the estate of Bette M. and William R. Weaver, a dome and telescope control system from Wayne Rosing, and support from Ralph Knox Foundation, AT&T Pro-Am Youth Fund, Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop, Monterey Peninsula Volunteer Services, and City of Marina Recreation Department.

Left: dome is installed at Weaver Student Observatory.
(Photo courtesy of L. Cohan)

Even though the weather conditions in Marina are not as spectacular as those on Chews Ridge, the easy access to the WSO has made it popular for public viewing of the heavens, meteor showers, and, in January of this year, its first full lunar eclipse.

It also provides a convenient location for students to perform observations for classes and science fair projects.


Right: dedication of The Weaver Student Observatory in June 1998. (Photo courtesy of B. Weaver)

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VegaAtWSO.jpg (18003 bytes) One Monterey County high school freshman garnered 2nd prize at the California State Science Fair for a spectroscopic comparison of the giant planets and the Sun.





Left:  A plot of the blue spectrum of Vega, taken by a local high school sophomore at the Weaver Observatory for a science project. The regular pattern of dips (absorption lines) is due to hydrogen; the narrower, out of pattern, dip is due to ionized calcium.


The 14-inch telescope in the Student Observatory is used by the public during public nights; students, measuring the stars for astronomy and science projects; and researchers, testing new equipment and techniques. (Photo courtesy of B. Weaver)

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2000 MIRA

Last updated February 22, 2001 by et.