Simon Fraser University (SFU) is planning the construction of a $4.4 million observatory at its Burnaby campus. It will be dedicated to engaging children and youth in science.
“These facilities will help SFU realize its goal to be Canada’s most community-engaged research university,” said SFU president Andrew Petter.
“Thanks to the Trottier Foundation, the university will be well equipped to offer thousands of young people across the country with opportunities to learn about and participate in the study of science.”
The Trottier Observatory is being established through the financial support of the Trottier Foundation, which is headed by Lorne and Louise Trottier.
The observatory is scheduled for completion by August 2014 and will be located at the east end of campus, near Strand Hall.
It will feature a six-meter-diameter dome housing a 0.7-metre diameter reflector telescope that is capable of tracking distant galaxies that are billions of years old.
The telescope will also provide a digital feed and can be remotely accessed and deployed by community groups and schools across Canada.
A viewing plaza will offer sundials and space for people to set up their own telescopes next to the dome. SFU’s physics department plans to offer undergraduate astronomy courses as well.
Lorne Trottier is an electronics engineer and cofounder of Matrox, a company that makes specialized computer graphics and video products.
His brother, Howard Trottier, is an SFU physics professor, an amateur astronomer and award-winning astro-photographer.
The Trottier Foundation recently opened the Trottier Studio for Innovative Science Education, which provides a flexible space designed to engage up to 70 children in hands-on science workshops.
The facility will be a permanent site for outreach programs that already attract about 5,000 children, youth and other visitors to the campus annually.