The WTC Foundation’s Inspire Program funds many interesting projects to improve the student experience here on campus. Currently, in its third phase of development, the Telescope project benefits Astronomy students during their nighttime labs. Dana Fahntrapp, Petroleum Technology instructor, initiated the project.
When the Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain 14” telescope was first purchased, Astronomy labs were held behind the Science building. Due to the lack of an electrical source and bright lights from the buildings, students struggled to use the telescope to its full capacity. To remedy this, a concrete slab foundation was poured at Cavender Energy Field. The new location provides a stable resting place for the telescope. The darker conditions at Cavender Energy Field allow students to see the night sky more clearly.
To complete the final phase of the project, a specialized housing structure will be built so that the telescope can remain set up and ready for student use. In addition, a twenty-four-hour camera surveillance system will be installed to protect the equipment.
Not only does this project benefit WTC’s Astronomy students but will eventually be open to members of the Snyder community on special occasions. Fahntrapp hopes to hold events open to the public to view special celestial occurrences in the night sky including the Harvest Moon, partial solar eclipses, super moons, and opportunities to see Jupiter and Saturn.