Natural Sciences

Star Power

Things are looking up at Pine Mountain Observatory

Things are looking up at Pine Mountain Observatory—literally and figuratively.

Comet Lovejoy was observed in 2013

The physics department’s public stargazing facility near Bend just received a $90,000 gift to upgrade the 14-inch Robbins Telescope, one of four at the observatory.

The telescope will soon be remotely operable from campus, enabling undergraduates and others to conduct research from Willamette Hall.

They’ll be able to move the scope’s camera to zero in on interesting astronomical phenomena, viewing the images on a computer monitor.

The gift from the Roundhouse Foundation, an arts philanthropy in Sisters, will pay for equipment that improves image quality, said Scott Fisher, physics outreach coordinator. That will pave the way for the day when the physics department can visit schools across Oregon to set up remote viewing sessions.