Through Lucie Fraissé
Observe the stars, planets, comets and asteroids from the roof of a building at Paul-Sabatier University, in Toulouse. This is the project carried out by a student association that wishes to set up a astronomical observatory on one of the future buildings on campus.
First 100% student astronomical observatory
The project was born in 2015, at the initiative ofUPS in space. The members of the student astronomy association then put forward the idea of providing the campus with the first 100% student astronomical observatory.
“We were starting to have some equipment: telescopes, our first solar telescope…, explains Daniel Chrétien, a former student and still a member of UPS in space. We wanted to be able to have our premises to welcome the public. We then started to discuss with the university… ”
Start of work in 2022
Over the years, the various presidents of the association carry the project. “It took a lot of patience and determination,” smiles Daniel Chrétien. We finally managed to reach an agreement with the university to install the observatory on a building whose construction is to begin in 2022. “
The Jocelyn Bell observatory (named after a British astrophysicist), with an automated dome like that of the Pic du Midi and the Cité de l’Espace, will be installed on the roof of the future student and staff house, which will notably house the campus associations. Three telescopes will be installed there.
Sun, planets, comets
“We will be able to see a lot of things with this observatory! enthuses Daniel Chrétien. The sun, thanks to a dedicated telescope, but also all the planets of the solar system, comets, asteroids… ”
The cost of the project has been estimated at 250,000 euros. For the moment, 60% has been financed – including the dome – thanks in particular to the participation of the university, private donations and public subsidies. To solicit funds, the UPS in space association will also launch a crowdfunding operation and hope to raise 10,000 euros (start of the campaign on October 12, more info on the website of‘UPS in space).
The observatory could welcome its first amateur astronomers in 2023. The places will be accessible to members of the association, but not only. Students on campus can become – the places can be used for the implementation of practical work for example – but also high school and college students. To offset the observatory’s operating costs, the association should also organize evenings for the general public.
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