The new 1,750 square-foot observatory and classroom at the State Museum will feature an exceptional 1926 Alvan Clark 12 3/8-inch refracting telescope. This instrument will be the first telescope in the country dedicated for use by the students of an entire state via the Internet. “GO TO” technology will allow remote and onsite users to “point & shoot” the telescope to specific places in the heavens. Students will capture celestial objects and receive images in classrooms all over the state.
The observatory classroom is designed to present educators and students with the tools and skills to direct the telescope and interpret amazing images of celestial objects. Teacher professional development will guide educators in the use of the telescope and classroom applications developed to South Carolina science standards. These activities will use the latest computing tools, allowing students real astronomy research opportunities.
Of course, all who attend the State Museum will have a chance to observe directly through the telescope eyepiece. Daytime sun and moon observations will be available, as will special night-time sessions to observe planets, nebula and star clusters. The 425 square-foot observation terrace above the Museum’s entrance will be equipped with excellent modern instruments and will be available to the public and school groups.