Refractor Telescope Celebrates 20 Years

By OSC on July 10, 2017 in What's New

Orlando Science Center is celebrating two decades of educating and inspiring the public with its refractor telescope, which had its grand opening July 11, 1997, in the Crosby Observatory.

The telescope is the largest of its kind available for public viewing in the state of Florida. Visitors are invited for evening viewings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 12, with the potential to see Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, our moon and more!

During your visit, use our 10″ Byers refracting telescope to look at celestial objects, as well as 8″ and 10″ reflecting telescopes. Our knowledgeable staff can even give you tips on how to stargaze at home!

Remember that observing outer space requires good weather here on Earth. Please note that viewings hours might change or be cancelled in the event of cloudy conditions.

History of the Refractor Telescope

Orlando Science Center’s 1,000-lb refractor telescope was designed and created by Ed Byers, whose astronomical instruments have been used by industry experts such as NASA and Lockheed Martin. Today, Byers has 60 years of experience manufacturing and testing these products in Barstow, California—where the desert sky has minimal light pollution.

The telescope took Byers nearly five months to build, but before personally delivering the telescope to Orlando Science Center by truck, he noticed an imperfection in the lens that required rebuffing and resetting. This delayed the installation to July 11, 1997, five months after Orlando Science Center’s new building had opened.

Byers donated much of his work as an in-kind contribution, allowing the Science Center to purchase the $250,000 telescope for just $50,000.


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