Siena College and ENVISION collaborated on the design of a new observatory - housing the largest telescope in the Capital Region. Joining other schools like RPI, UAlbany and Union College, the observatory makes it possible for physics and astrophysics faculty and students to observe the moons of Jupiter and Saturn’s rings as well as track near Earth asteroids, inspiring them to solve the mysteries of the universe. In addition to coursework and research, Siena offers public observing sessions throughout the year as a way to increase community outreach and make the observatory available to school groups and anyone that has a genuine interest in astronomy.
The permanently-mounted telescope is housed atop of Siena’s Science Building, Roger Bacon Hall, named after the Franciscan Friar who over 800 years ago emphasized that observation was critical before any conclusion about the natural world could be determined. Through a sizeable grant, Siena College continues this legacy of observation. Working with a dynamic and innovative team of consultants, the telescope was designed housed in a 16-foot structure on top of the science building, with a rotating dome and retractable opening. The telescope features a 27-inch diameter mirror that can also be remotely controlled. The project also includes a control room, storage space, pavered rooftop patio with guardrails as well as pedestals for smaller telescopes.
The observatory is a key resource for educating students and connecting the greater community of all ages and backgrounds to the world of astronomy.