GE Dark Sky Observatory
Thanks to a partnership between the GE Volunteer Foundation and Apple Ridge, our campers are able to take advantage of star gazing through the telescopes of the GE Dark Sky Observatory. Created and designed by Michael Good, the astronomical observatory sits just below the summit of Mt. Lews (2700’ elevation) giving a night sky view with minimal ambient light intrusion.
Volunteers from the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society and GE Volunteer Foundation constructed the observatory to be made available to campers as well as a community educational outreach facility available to civic groups.
- First light for the observatory occurred in May, 2007.
- It contains two Schmidt-Cassegrain observatory caliber telescopes with motorized clock drive computer controls. The larger 12” telescope allows automatic slewing and finding of thousands of objects in the pristine dark skies of Apple Ridge.
- GE has designed this equipment to work with a solar collector and battery, hence environmentally friendly.
- Superb lunar, planetary, and deep sky objects come into the view of our students.
- On overcast nights our students attend classroom presentations in the Meador Natural Science Building