Clackamas Community College and the Rose City Astronomers have entered into a unique partnership to ensure that the Haggart Observatory continues to serve the college and the general public. The local non-profit amateur astronomy club has agreed to help maintain the observatory and open it for periodic public access.
Rose City Astronomers (RCA) is a nonprofit volunteer club dedicated to promoting the enjoyment and education of astronomy to both members and the public. It is one of the largest amateur astronomy clubs in the country and conducts public star parties throughout the year, along with regular observing events for its members.
The Haggart Observatory is named for Harold Haggart, a long-time resident of the Oregon City area and a one-time professional telescope builder. As part of his life-long interest in astronomy, he constructed a personal observatory attached to his residence, which housed a sophisticated telescope of his own design and making. His widow Darcy Haggart donated the hand-crafted dome to the ELC in the late 1980s. The observatory opened to the public in 1989.
In recent years the Haggart Observatory has been maintained by a group of volunteers and opened to the public on clear Saturday nights. The observatory offers views of the night skies through 24-inch and 13-inch Newtonian reflector telescopes.
“This agreement will open the door for stargazers in the metro area to view distant galaxies and star clusters through a powerful telescope at this unique local resource,” said Bill Briare, dean of Arts and Science at the college.
The Rose City Astronomers plan to begin offering regular public viewings at the observatory this summer. The club will be charged a nominal fee for use of the observatory by its members, in return for maintaining the observatory and conducting periodic star parties.
“Our club is excited about the opportunity to preserve this great community resource and make it available for our members to explore the universe from such a convenient location,” said David Nemo, director of observing sites for RCA.
For more information, contact Diana Fredlund, Rose City Astronomers media director, firstname.lastname@example.org , or Janet Paulson, 503-594-3162.