Barbados is soon to have a new state-of-the-art public observatory for promoting astronomy.
On Saturday night, November 16, I was fortunate and privileged to be the guest speaker at the first event at the newly refurbished Harry Bayley Observatory in Bridgetown, Barbados. A grant from an educational foundation in the UK has allowed the Barbados Astronomical Society to renew the aging 50-year-old facility with a fresh new interior, and all the high-tech fittings of a modern public observatory.
A new dome was lifted into place on top of the 3-storey structure earlier in the week, and the painting and interior finishing was completed just a day or two before my talk, in time for a public RSVP event Saturday night.
I gave a talk on The Amazing Sky, showing images and movies from the November 3 total eclipse, among many other photos of the sights anyone can see in the day and night sky. I gave the same talk twice, to two packed houses of 40 people per session in the main floor meeting room/lecture hall. A wonderful spread of local food and drink was served upstairs.
Lots of work remains to complete the refurbishment but the facility was in good enough shape to host a public event. The official opening is in January.
A new Meade 16-inch telescope on a Software Bisque MX2 mount is on its way for installation later this year, equipped with the latest robotic control and digital cameras for public viewing. A hydrogen-alpha solar telescope will also be part of the arsenal of equipment.
This night, members set up a portable Celestron 8-inch telescope outside for viewing the Moon and Jupiter. In contrast to viewing at home at this time of year, observing from 13° North latitude was in shorts and shirt-sleeves.
It was a terrific evening and I’m pleased to have been part of the relaunching of the Observatory and astronomy activities on the island. Many thanks go to my host on the island, Greg Merrick, for making the evening – and my stay this week – possible.
– Alan, November 17, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer
3 Replies to “Relaunching Stargazing in Barbados”
In the Weekend Nation Newspapers for every Friday, The Night Skies used to be shown for The Moon This Week and Coming Up, or Coming Up, Learn About Astronomy or the Upcoming Annular/Partial/Solar Eclipses and the Partial/Penumbral/Total Lunar Eclipses for 14 years then from May 5th, 2000 to February 7th 2014, which was no more until further notice.
Thanks for posting this Alan….. check out our Barbados Astronomy page on Facebook…… http://facebook.com/barbadosastronomy
I used to visit that observatory in 1983 when I lived there!
I’ll bet the young man who ran it then is still there and part of
your audience! Very exciting for you…
Phone 403 874 5332