The Koinonia Foundation

Grants Review Committee

19468 Manchester Dr.

Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Morgan County Observatory

AWARD TO MORGAN CO., WV OBSERVATORY

Background

Buried for 6 long years. In 1993 the Morgan County Board of Education was given a gift — a research grade 16″ Cassegrain telescope. It was donated by the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Telescope is 12 feet high, weighs over 2 tons and is worth $500,000. Most importantly it contains a sixteen inch objective or “main mirror”.

Unfortunately when the telescope was received it was promptly put into storage where it awaited rediscovery. This was because Morgan County had no place to mount it. This is where you come in…

The Community Organizes

In late 1999 a group of citizens and the School Board established a non-profit {501(c)3} foundation to build an observatory for the telescope for the benefit of the schools and citizens of West Virginia.

In 3 1/2 years many important advances had been made: A site has been selected, surveyed and architect’s drawings done. Repairs to the telescope are now complete and the building is almost finished.

Fortunately for us, the original telescope engineer lives in Morgan County and has agreed to repair, setup and maintain the telescope as necessary.

What is needed now are the funds to finish the observatory, maintain it, keep it secure, and provide the staffing necessary to schedule viewing times and develop educational programs. With over $140,000 raised, our responsibility is to run the observatory as an educational resource for everyone interested.

Importance and Value of Telescope

We anticipate that the observatory will be a catalyst for:

  • Science seminars
  • Astronomy clubs
  • Science career days
  • Independent research
  • Other educational opportunities

The observatory can be used not only by Morgan County schools and residents but also by all schools in the region, including nearby Maryland.

We’re Making Progress

For those visionaries who have already contributed, here is a short progress report on what we are doing with the funding you so generously donated:

  • Obtained land for building site from the school board
  • Constructed the building to near completion according to architect’s blueprints
  • Held frequent star parties to generate interest, educate others, and raise funds
  • Delivered programs to thousands at the observatory and at Fairs, Lectures & other events to promote awareness.
  • Been awarded many grants

Help us Continue our Progress!

Your generous contributions of time, money, and energy will make this project a reality. here are some ways you can help:

Volunteer; Send a check; Come to “Star Parties” & Shows; Write grant applications; Provide construction labor or materials.

Our telescope was custom built by Ferson Optics in Ocean Springs, MS in 1967 for the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. It was Ferson’s model 1216. The telescope was decommissioned by the Academy and donated by the U.S. Navy to the Morgan County Schools in 1993. Refurbished, repaired and upgraded with funding raised by the Morgan County Observatory Foundation it was placed back in operation at the Morgan County Observatory in December 2001.

It is a unique dual Cassegrain / Newtonian scope with a switchable secondary mirror and a 16″ primary mirror composed of Zerodur. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds and has a focal length in cassegrain mode of 224 inches or an F/14 ratio. The Newtonian focus is 64 inches or F/4 ratio.

The value of the scope has been estimated at $500,000.00. The original cost of production was approximately $ 23,500 in 1967.

Ferson Optical made four 1216 telescopes. The U.S. Naval Academy received the first production run (This telescope now resides here at the Greenwood Elementary School, Berkeley Springs, Morgan County, West Virginia). Colgate University, Hamilton, NY purchased one. St. Marks Academy, Dallas, Texas purchased one – currently being restored & moved to the Dallas Astronomical Society site in southern Oklahoma. and the last at Werner Von Braun in Huntsville.

Alabama – still in its dome but missing some parts & not functional, with optics said to be superb

Our telescope was custom built by Ferson Optics in Ocean Springs, MS in 1967 for the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. It was Ferson’s model 1216. The telescope was decommissioned by the Academy and donated by the U.S. Navy to the Morgan County Schools in 1993. Refurbished, repaired and upgraded with funding raised by the Morgan County Observatory Foundation it was placed back in operation at the Morgan County Observatory in December 2001.

It is a unique dual Cassegrain / Newtonian scope with a switchable secondary mirror and a 16″ primary mirror composed of Zerodur. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds and has a focal length in cassegrain mode of 224 inches or an F/14 ratio. The Newtonian focus is 64 inches or F/4 ratio.

The value of the scope has been estimated at $500,000.00. The original cost of production was approximately $ 23,500 in 1967.

Ferson Optical made four 1216 telescopes. The U.S. Naval Academy received the first production run (This telescope now resides here at the Greenwood Elementary School, Berkeley Springs, Morgan County, West Virginia). Colgate University, Hamilton, NY purchased one. St. Marks Academy, Dallas.

Texas purchased one – currently being restored & moved to the Dallas Astronomical Society site in southern Oklahoma. and the last at Werner Von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama – still in its dome but missing some parts & not functional, with optics said to be superb

Tentative Star Parties; 2007-2008



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