Observatory and Astronomy Programs
Harrington Beach State Park
The Jim and Gwen Plunkett Observatory was dedicated on July 21, 2007. The observatory has a 20-inch telescope that weighs over 2000 pounds. The telescope is designed to provide an extremely stable platform for instrumentation. The telescope accommodates four foci: two Newtonian, one Cassegrain and one Coude. The telescope is named for its primary benefactors, Alvin and Hilda Panarusky.
A unique feature of the observatory is the roll-off roof design. The roof rolls off of the building on heavy rails, exposing the full sky.
The Northern Cross Science Foundation operates the observatory at Harrington Beach State Park. From this peaceful location, the group is able to pursue a variety of astronomical studies and conduct several educational and outreach programs. Throughout the summer and early fall, the foundation holds several astronomy evenings that are open to the public.