(Unofficial page, exerpted from the MDOA brochure)
MDOA is a California non-profit corporation organized under IRS 501(C)3, dedicated to public education in astronomy. We are a cooperating association with the state park system. Members of our organization include scientists, engineers and other professional people with a common interest in astronomy and a desire to further science education.
We provide regularly scheduled public programs on the summit of Mt. Diablo. These usually feature a speaker or a slide program and always include several telecopes set up to view celestial objects. In addition to public programs, we frequently give special programs for various organizations and schools. We have been performing these services since 1982. Anually we reach more than 1000 persions, about half of whom are of school age.
A Northern Illinois University Nation wide survey - probing the adult general science knowledge - of the 75 questions, 55 percent did not know the time the earth takes to revolve around the sun; 21 percent answered that the sun revolved around the earth, showing a lack of understanding of rather basic scientific concepts.
Our American people arn't prepared to compete in a world where technical achivements are necessary for prosperity.
People are naturally curious about objects in the sky. (Do you recall comet Halley? We had more visitors than we could handle!) Astronomical discoveries and theories (such as the extinction of the dinosaurs being brought about by the impact of an asteroid) capture the popular imagination. Learning science is fun, facinating, and worthwhile. We have to comunicate that, and atronomy is an exellent motivator.
Our plan is to construct a building, including small lecture room and housing for the telecope, of about 1200 square feet. The telecope is to be a 16-inch, driven by stepper motors under computer control. We have begun construction of the optics; the 16-inch primary mirror has been already completed! Mount Diablo State Park is providing a site (near Pioneer Horse Camp), and our program is fully integrated with the park's general plan adopted in November 1989.
Our fund-raising goal is $100,000. THis will cover the cost of:
Completing the construction of a 16-inch cassegrain telescope.This budget is quite modest because the most expensive item of equipment, the telescope, is being constructed by members of MDOA. We also plan to do much of the building construction ourselves. We feel that we can thus live within a tight budget and still deliver an outstanding facility.
Designing and constructing a suitable shelter for the telecope, together with a separate room for visitors.
Purchasing electronic equipment, specifically: a microcomputer for telescope control and image display, and a cooled charge-coupled device (CCD) camera.
Send tax deductable contributions to:
MT. DIABLO OBSERVATORY ASSOCIATION
96 Mitchell Canyon Road
Clayton, California 94517
Please include your name and address.