Campaign will expand learning opportunities

The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Society has announced plans to reopen The Centre of the Universe

A new campaign has set its sights on opening the doors to science for a whole new generation.

The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Society has announced plans to reopen The Centre of the Universe visitors centre that sits next to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory atop Little Saanich Mountain.

The centre was forced to close in summer 2013 in the wake of cutbacks in the federal budget. That decision left school groups with no access to the observatory, and the public limited to a few special events held on Saturday nights over the summer.

The Friends of DAO hopes to open the observatory and Centre of the Universe to elementary school field trips. To reach that goal, the group must raise $9,500 and have that matched through grants to fully fund a new School Tours program as well as some equipment upgrades to improve the quality of presentations on Observatory Hill.

The Centre of the Universe houses historical artifacts like the original 1.8-metre mirror from the Plaskett Telescope and once offered historical tours, multimedia shows, and youth programs. The group’s vision entails a new Centre of the Universe that would allow visitors to stand on alien worlds using 3D technology, see the night sky far from city lights and explore the unique ways First Nations related to the cosmos.

To achieve that vision, the society has started a crowd-funding site to help raise the $9,500 needed to bring back science education to the observatory. The IndieGogo site can be found at http://igg.me/at/FDAO.

Science education is key to developing a highly skilled workforce that will lead to a strengthened economy. The Centre of the Universe is just the kind of thing needed to captivate young minds and draw them into the realms of science.

We would encourage the community to rally around the cause to reopen the Centre of the Universe. It holds a key to better education for our children and a better future for our country.

 

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