During this year's amazing SSO 2014 Starfest & Open Day beginning 3rd of October, iTelescope.Net took the opportunity to invite its friends, contributors and many members to the mountain for two important ceremonies within our flagship observatory.
It was a glorious and sunny Australian weekend that included other important birthdays too. The Siding Spring Observatory complex itself had its 50th anniversary, the 4m AAT telescope celebrated the 40 years since its first light and the ANU 2.3m telescope has now been operating for 30 productive years as well.
We at iTelescope also had plenty to celebrate and dedicate on the weekend. A wonderful turnout of guests gathered within the largest roll off roof observatory in the world for two important events. Fine champagne and food was enjoyed as we took the opportunity to officially open the iTelescope SSO facility and also dedicate the largest iTelescope system to three important female astronomers. Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Annie Jump Cannon and Henrietta Swan Leavitt. Hence, this new instrument has been named 'The BCL T27 Telescope'.
iTelescope kicked the weekend off with a great LIVE webcast featuring iTelescope's own Peter Lake with special guests Dr Pamela Gay, Dr Amanda Bauer and affiliate Neil Shaw. Its well worth watching as our guests discuss the BCL telescope and the role SSO plays in astronomy today.
Friday also saw the iTelescope Observatory quickly fill with guests from far and wide for its two dedications. The SSO iTelescope facility, as mentioned by Managing Director Brad Moore in his welcome address, was due to be officially opened in January 2013, but the tragic and horrible fire storm that swept through the surrounding national park and threatened the observatory itself put those plans on hold. It was thought best to postpone the opening until the whole SSO site was celebrating its 50th anniversary open day. Mr Moore thanked all those involved with the financing, construction and operation of the facility as well as our many friends on the mountain from the Australian National University's Facilities & Services division, its world renown Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and also the incredible Australian Astronomical Observatory all of which have been so generous in their support. Brad also thanked our iTelescope membership, that the observatory was built for them and indeed would not exist without them.
Neil Shaw, iTelescope affiliate and donor of the Planewave CDK700 27" telescope then invited our guests to speak to an excited gathering regarding their thoughts and feelings before the cutting of ribbons began.
Dr Pamela Gay (SIUE), our very special guest from across the pond then gave a wonderful talk on the role of the three female astronomers the telescope was dedicated to before she skillfully cut the large red ribbon that officially declared the BCL T27 iTelescope ready to give our thousands of members access to the largest publicly available online telescope in the world.
Dr Amanda Bauer (AAO) an Australian Super Science Fellow was also a delight as she gleefully cut yet another red ribbon draped across the observatory entrance and declared the iTelescope SSO Observatory open for Remote Astronomy! Amanda is a driving force in Australian and international astronomy and is the outreach officer for the Australian Astronomical Observatory See Video Here.
We once again wish to sincerely thank Pamela, Amanda and Neil for giving us their time and being so generous in their words on the day when iTelescope officially presented its SSO observatory and this fabulous telescope to all those that have a hunger to image and investigate the skies of the southern hemisphere above Siding Spring.