Great news for stargazers! The Hesje Observatory at the Miquelon Lake Provincial Park was launched virtually yesterday.
Located southeast of Edmonton, the Miquelon Lake Provincial Park is a great day trip for all who want to escape the city. The park is known for its many hiking and mountain biking trails, wildlife, and birds. Being part of the Beaver Hills Dark-Sky Preserve, the park is also the perfect place to enjoy an excellent view of the sky. The new Hesje Observatory, which opened on January 12, will make the University of Alberta the only university in Western Canada to have an observatory in a Dark-Sky Preserve.
The observatory has a dome at the top of the tower to provide an unhindered view of the sky above the trees. There is also a deck space where people stand or bring their portable telescope and gaze up the sky.
The observatory will use a 17” Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK17) telescope from PlaneWave which is mounted permanently on a PlaneWave L-series 500 altazimuth mount. The higher aperture would give this telescope a higher light gathering power and give a sharper and detailed image.
The observatory also has a Celestron Edge HD 11″ portable telescope which would be used for taking pictures of night sky objects. Another telescope that would be used would be an 8″ Dobsonian telescope handmade by two Augustana students mounted on an altazimuth mount.
2021 is a year full of many astronomical events, including many meteor showers, lunar eclipse, and a total solar eclipse. Use the 2021 astronomical calendar to plan your trip to the Miquelon Lake Provincial Park.
The Observatory is currently closed to the public due to the pandemic. The digital feeds from the telescope in the observatory will eventually be remotely accessible at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta and online, bringing dark skies to the public, students, researchers, and local schools.
For updates on opening dates, do fill out the contact form on the University website. Those registered will be contacted in-person upon the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.