November 26, 2020

Astronomical telescope lands at UCCI

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A state-of-the-art astronomical telescope which has been lovingly built by Dr. William Hrudey in his West Bay garage, finally landed at its new home, a-purpose built observatory on the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) campus.

The telescope, built round a 12.5 inch concave reflecting mirror and reckoned to be the third largest in the Caribbean region was lowered by crane to upper floor room of the observatory. There, surrounded by a computer which guides the precision gears and other high-tech equipment, the telescope will enable students to gaze out on planets or constellations of stars many thousands of light-years away.

It was built over a four-year period by Dr. Hrudey after the first one was destroyed by seawater during hurricane Ivan.

His patience in not only completing the telescope but in finding a suitable home where it would be fully appreciated, was rewarded when Dr. Hrudey, a lifetime astronomy enthusiast, was introduced to UCCI President, Mr Roy Bodden.

Mr. Bodden offered Dr. Hrudey the campus site for the new telescope. The observatory building has been made possible by a number of sponsors, including the Dart Foundation, GreenlightRE, and the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman as well several different construction-related business who have donated labour and expertise.

The building is divided into two parts, the room that contains the telescope and a classroom where students can watch what the telescope sees on a huge LCD screen.

“The observatory building is complete, and now its time to install the telescope,” Dr Hrudey said. “Mr. Bodden is very keen on expanding the curriculum.”

The university plans on using the telescope as a focal-point for brand new courses, and UCCI students as well as students from local schools will soon be able to see the telescope in operation, after the observatory’s grand opening on 21 February.

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