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"Institute Plans Observatory: Students Impressed..." In 1940, the Physics Department at Rensselaer began work on its own astronomical observatory. It would sit "on the ridge south of the Russell Sage Dining Hall overlooking the 87 field" where we today find the Center for Industrial Innovation (the Lowe building, or "CII").
The original observatory was dedicated in September 1942 in an address
by Prof. Bart J. Bok, then a member of Harvard College Observatory.
This page was designed by P.A.
The Student Observatory was completed on campus in 1942. The 12" reflector built here on campus was sheltered under a 16' dome. The observatory was even featured in the October of 1942 issue of Sky and Telescope Magazine!
The 12" equatorial reflector is shown in use prior to the observatory (below) as well at the 1942 dedication ceremony (far below). Today, the instrument sits on display in the lobby of the observatory as a testament to the fine craftsmanship of Otto Rasmussen (the department's instrument maker, who oversaw the construction effort) as well as the RAS members who assisted.
In 1980, the General Electric company donated the Boller and Chivens
16" Cassegrain telescope currently in use.
In 1980, the General Electric company donated the Boller and Chivens 16" Cassegrain telescope currently in use.
The Hirsch Observatory was expanded and dedicated to celebrate the event. Today, the RAS is based in the Hirsch Observatory on the roof of the Jonsson Rowland Science Center. The observatory (reduced in size and scope) was moved here to accommodate the construction of the George M Low, Center for Industrial Innovation building.
pictures by: Gregg Talewsky