Brian Antonson predicts there will be star parties on the deck of the Rotary Observatory and Space Science Centre at Heritage Park by summer.
“We need about another $100,000 to fully finish the building for a space science centre, but the observation deck is almost done and can hold 100 star-gazers at a time,” said Antonson.
With a $100,000 grant from the province and $20,000 from the Rotary Club of Mission, along with donations in lieu, the building is standing and the siding is going up. The railings around the observatory are now completed. There is the matter of stairs to the deck, but Antonson is optimistic those will be completed soon.
Now he is turning his attention to buying the powerful dome telescope.
The Rotary Club of Mission has already raised a substantial amount of the money for the telescope through its fall gala, and hope to add to that with a Star Gazer fundraiser on March 28 at All Saints Anglican Church.
There will be an irish stew, a curried vegetarian dish, desserts and music by Retro Fire throughout the evening. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased at Earthtacular Rock and Gem on First Avenue or by phoning 604-768-9600.
Antonson has been working with Craig Breckenridge, a renowned telescope-maker who has offered to design the telescope free of charge and work with a BC fabricator who will provide a “very good price” for his work. Antonson expects building the telescope will cost $20,000 to $25,000.
“Right now, Breckenridge is designing a telescope for placement in Hawaii worth $1.5 billion. Imagine Rogers Arena with the top turning, and you have an idea of the scope of telescopes Breckenridge designs,” he said.