Dr. Alex Shlanta Astronomical Observatory
Astronomical Observatory Dedication at Cerro Coso Community College
Ridgecrest, CA – April 28, 2006
The public is invited to a dedication, ribbon cutting, and plaque unveiling at Cerro Coso Community College for the Dr. Alex Shlanta Astronomical Observatory. The ceremony is scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday, May 4, 2006 at the Observatory. The Observatory is located east of the Cerro Coso Community College parking lot and south of the Solar Field.
Work on the Observatory commenced 7 years ago through the inspiration and leadership of Dr. Alex Shlanta, an Adjunct Faculty member at the College. Presently, there are 19 telescopes and 8 pairs of binoculars that are housed in the 4 observing domes and 3 storage sheds within the observatory compound. The observatory has been developed as a hands-on "teaching astronomical observatory" and is used by Astronomy and Physical Science Lab classes at the College. This observatory provides a unique experience for the students at the College as most introductory college astronomy lab classes are taught only using interactive computer systems. The observatory is used as a community asset as well with star parties having been held at the observatory for local youth groups, boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts, middle school science students, and 3rd, 5th and 6th grade students.
The Observatory started its operations originally with a surplus 10-inch Cave reflecting telescope and Askania dome obtained from NAWC-Weapons Division, China Lake through the surplus equipment program. To help make the observatory grow, interested faculty and staff at Cerro Coso Community College contributed approximately $2,700 to the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation fund. The Foundation has also been supportive by helping out with funding for the transportation of domes to the college. Additional equipment for the observatory was obtained through donations, more NAWC surplus property, and extended loans. Interested individuals in the community, have helped to develop the observatory and its physical compound, having contributed many hours of free labor. In the process, a half a million-dollar facility ($500,000) has been developed at the College at an expense to the College of under $15,000.
To honor Dr. Alex Shlanta for his unfailing efforts, management and devotion to this project the College faculty and staff are naming the facility after him.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Joann Handeland, Director of Facilities Development and Public Information (760) 384-6230