Saanich observatory supporters hope for May reopening

Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich are confident the national historic site will reopen to the public this spring, though slightly later than originally anticipated.

The Centre of the Universe, which houses interactive educational displays and historic astronomy artifacts, was closed to the public last August due to federal funding cuts. The observatory’s Plaskett telescope was also closed to public tours.

Thousands petitioned the closure of the education centre, included longtime supporter Don Moffatt. After the doors closed, three different groups were formed to look at short- and long-term plans to restore astronomy education at the site; Moffatt is a member of all three.

“The short-term working group is looking at restoring as many services as possible with the visitors centre this year,” he says.

The long-term working group is working to revitalize the centre and make it viable into the future. The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory group, close to becoming official, aims to be the non-profit organization that deals directly with the federal government.

While an April reopening was planned, the groups have since pushed that back to May, to hopefully coincide with Astronomy Week (May 4-10).

“Also that’s the anniversary of the observatory,” Moffatt said. “It’s still being negotiated, but it’s looking good (for a limited opening in May).”

Currently being planned is an open house in May – the details of which are not yet known – to be sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

RASC also aims to host children’s camps in the summer.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

PAPA eyes fuel dock
Big wheels
This and That November 26
Youth has a new voice on Qualicum school board
Take a holiday home tour in Parksville Qualicum Beach
Moonlight Madness attracts crowds in Qualicum Beach
Put on those sports jerseys for free recreational opportunities
Eleventh-hour effort pushes Dakova on to new council’s plate
Tom Jackson making change

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.