Coleshill Astronomical Public Observatory (CAPO)
The purpose of this document is to request a program of partnership with Coleshill Town Council and also Community Funding Foundations regional and national.
CAPO is seeking to raise funds to build a public astronomical observatory for the advancement of education and science within the community.
The facility will be of sufficient size to host exhibitions, meetings, and community interest events. Also, the observatory will be promoted as a free tourist attraction of Coleshill (to increase visitor footprint to its market town) and will also operate as a free public attraction for the Midlands region.
Visiting the Observatory will be free.
School students, accompanied by their teacher, will be able to visit by appointment.
Public viewing will be arranged for the following times, weather permitting -
Amateur astronomers will be able to use the telescopes on any weekday evening, by arrangement.
Also, the Observatory will host a Community Star Party for all major astronomical events (for instance: meteor showers, lunar eclipses, or bright comets that pass close to our planet). People can bring along their own cameras, binoculars and portable telescopes to share their viewing experience with others.
Aside from the above activities, there will always be lots to do and see at the Observatory, even on days that may be wet and windy!
Visitors will have an opportunity to -
And as part of social outreach, the Observatory will have its own Facebook page and Twitter feed, where everyone can join in the fun to discuss all things Astronomy & Space.
The photographs below show the 'Clearview' Modular Building and Pulsar Dome that would be purchased to meet the aims of this proposal.
The design is functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing -
CAPO project manager Dave Evans has provided optical equipment and accessories (valued £20,434) for the initial installation in the observatory (for a full listing, see page 4).
The main item to be installed is a Celestron 11" Edge HD telescope. The optics of this instrument are classed as research-grade.
The telescope is controlled by a hand-held computer that has a database of over 30,000 deep sky objects stored in memory!
Observing is straightforward: a) the desired object is selected from the database; b) the telescope moves to the correct position in the sky; c) the instrument locks on target, and d) the operator can then make a choice to either photograph or view.
The 'C11' will capture live video images of the Sun, Moon, Planets, and Stars, which can then be displayed on a large screen monitor in the Exhibition Area. This arrangement is considered ideal as it will offer visitors a safe, comfortable and shared viewing experience.
It is interesting to note that the University of Nottingham has installed the same size telescope to assist student research in the School of Physics and Astronomy. Interior and exterior views of their facility are shown below -
More information about the Nottingham University site can be found here.
CAPO is seeking to partner with Coleshill Town Council, the Local Education Authority, and Funding Foundations to deliver a free-to-use attraction for the Coleshill market town and Midlands region that will advance education and science in the community.
We consider Astronomy to be a beautiful science...
Go out on any clear moonless night and you will see the Milky Way stretch from one side of the sky to the other. A small pair of binoculars will reveal that this faint band of light is comprised of billions of stars that offer an edge-on view of our galaxy.
Having a better understanding of how the universe works can make the world more beautiful...
For us, astronomy is true love and passion. We also enjoy the unexpected. Without warning a bright solar flare can blast a billion tons of particles into space that travel at over a million miles an hour!
If the ejection is in the direction of Earth, particles associated with the eruption can penetrate the upper atmosphere and cause bright auroras, or Northern Lights.
We also like to study deep space because it is important to realise that there is a lot of things happening out there far beyond our everyday experience...
If you take a look at those things you begin to realise that space is huge, really huge. Island galaxies can be seen in every direction we explore and at distances as far as the largest telescopes can see.
Like us, people would also like to know that they are not alone in the universe and if there is life out there could we find it? The photo below shows an artists conception of the 'Curiosity' rover vaporising rocks on Mars in search of evidence for life past or present.
We care about astronomy because we like to understand what is going on around us.
Have you ever seen Saturn through a telescope? It has a system of concentric rings that look so cool!
For us, the thrill of astronomy is to bring the wonders of the universe within everyone's reach.
The role of astronomy in education, its ability to stir excitement in the community, and what seems to be an endless flow of opportunities for discovery, all mix to testify that life here on Earth is important, purposeful, special, and in its way unique.
Our project will provide the following deliverables -
educational resources for science tutors.
educational activities for students studying GCSE Astronomy.
daily opportunities for students to make actual scientific discoveries.
to motivate and inspire students to consider science as a future career path.
arrange classroom talks; to be presented by local amateur astronomers.
partner programs with robotic telescopes for remote live-viewing.
For the community:
an opportunity to look through telescopes and ask questions.
access to the latest news and events via our website coleshillastronomy.co.uk
star parties to view major astronomical events - a meteor shower, comet or a lunar eclipse.
support for existing groups. We can help Scouts to achieve their astronomy badge.
dates and times when the International Space Station can be seen over Coleshill.
a permanent exhibition of the latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
details of upcoming space flights and missions to the planets by NASA.
actual live commentary and video from inside the International Space Station.
themed observatory events; specific to Easter, Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas.
24/7 social contact with the facility via facebook and twitter.
For amateur astronomers
dedicated meeting room and a place to hold talks and events.
real-time access to the SOHO Space Telescope C2 and C3 images. Discover a comet!
two-way communication with the sungrazing comet science teams at NASA LASCO.
observing partnerships with robotic telescopes around the world; in particular SLOOH.
full access to our research-grade equipment, including any training if necessary.
opportunity to become a 'Friend of the Observatory' and to help with our events.
For the market town of Coleshill
establish a unique tourist attraction that will increase visitor footprint.
provision of press releases to promote Coleshill as a centre of educational excellence.
advancement of education and science within the local community.
A fairly compact site is envisaged suitable to accommodate the 'Clearview' building and an adjoining patio area so we can set up portable observing equipment.
The site will incorporate an indoor exhibition area and provide sufficient chair space for meetings of approximately 20-30 persons.
The main telescope will be operated from a control desk situated in the 'Clearview' building.
Depending on the final site chosen, services would need to include power, internet connectivity, drinking water, and toilet facilities.
Heating will not be required in the observatory as it is important to maintain stable air currents to maximise good seeing.
B7.4 flares captured in active sunspot region 1271
C2.0 Solar Flare in Active Sunspot Region 1263
Sunspot Region 1236
Bright Prominences, with the size of our planet Earth shown to scale
Bright Prominences, with the size of our planet Earth shown to scale
Large Arch Prominence. Our planet Earth shown to scale
Time-stamped sequence of an eruptive prominence
Sunspots and Filaments
Celestron 11" Edge HD
Craters Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel
Crater Plato and the Alpine Valley
Hadley Rille and Apollo 15 Landing Site (red dot)
Globular Star Cluster M13