Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo observatory releases dates to stargaze

The Rio Hondo Observatory has reopened its doors for students, staff and everyone interested in seeing planets, nebulas, the moon and more.

In the late 1960s, two Physical Science instructors (we had no astronomy instructor at that time) decided to build an Observatory.

They convinced the college to pay for half and NSF (National Science Foundation) funds paid the other half. The Observatory was finished about 1972, and Astronomy Professor Aaron Martin became the Director.

In 1978 a most beloved Chemistry instructor, Gordon Crowell, passed away. Not long after, the Math and Sciences Division named the observatory in his honor, and it became the Gordon D. Crowell Astrophysical Observatory.

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The next date the observatory will be open will be on April 4, followed by its second date on April 25.

Students, as well as anyone interested, meet at Observatory Road by the Child development center, and walk half a mile up the road to get to the observatory.

First opened in 73’ the Rio Hondo Observatory has attracted many fans of astronomy with its Schmidt Cassegrain 16-inch reflecting telescope.

Christopher Soto, Observatory Director for the Department of physical science, not only allows anyone interested in astronomy view through the telescope, he interacts with crowds of up to 300 individuals to discuss and inform them about stars, constellations, and “give them a sense of what they’re looking at.”

Soto, who has been volunteering for 15 years, has been involved since Prof. Dewayne Highfill taught the class. Soto will show the planet Saturn on May 9.

Wildlife has been known to roam the area but according to Soto, “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” meaning, the chances of them attacking anyone is unlikely.

Students must be advised to use the restroom or have their cigarettes before walking the hill because there are no restrooms as well as no smoking is allowed.

In case of an emergency, there is a blue call post for anyone who needs any assistance.

For anyone curious about the night sky, or for anyone interested in viewing Los Angeles on a hill, this is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

The last day the observatory will be open this spring semester will be on May 9, and depending on the weather, anyone has a chance to view the night sky.


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