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Science Museum To Reopen Largest Telescope

After two years of restoration, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is reopening one of its largest telescopes tomorrow.

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George Observatory
The George Observatory Image credit: Houston Museum of Natural Science

 

For 25 years, stargazers in Texas have peered into the Gueymard research telescope to get a closer look at the night sky. The 36-foot structure is housed at George Observatory. It’s been closed for about two years undergoing restoration.

Carolyn Sumners is with the Museum of Natural Science. She says the estimated $80,000 in upgrades will produce sharper images.

“The big telescope is so good that we can see the moon and Jupiter before the sun goes down,” Sumners says.

Houston’s growing population adds to light pollution in the night sky, making some celestial bodies harder to see. But Sumners says the telescope’s location in Brazos Bend State Park offers protection. She says many modern telescopes project images onto a monitor, but the only way to see through the Gueymard is by using its eyepiece.

“It’s much more exciting to look through an eyepiece and go, ‘look over there, there it is!’” she says. “So you have a eureka experience and say, ‘Wow, I just saw it for myself.’”

Sumners says the next big project will be equipping the telescope to take photos of space.

The festivities to mark the reopening begin tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the George Observatory in the Brazos Bend State Park.

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