Local astronomy buffs will soon have a new hub, where they can explore the vastness of our Universe.
The brand new Trottier Observatory and Science Courtyard at Simon Fraser University will open its doors on Friday thanks to a $2.7 million gift from the Trottier Family Foundation.
Howard Trottier is a professor of physics at SFU and a regular science contributor on Global News.
His oldest brother, Lorne Trottier, is a successful businessman and founder of a Montreal-based developer of computer graphics cards.
“He is also the biggest science geek I know,” says Howard Trottier. “He played a big role in my development.”
They both share a passion for science education.
The Trottier Studio for Innovative Science Education opened at the Burnaby SFU campus in spring 2014 and is a state-of-the-art learning space for children.
The observatory is the family’s most recent contribution.
“We are the Trottier family’s biggest fans,” says SFU Dean of Science Claire Cupples. “They have done so much for SFU and to bring this dream to reality.”
Their brainchild will feature a six-meter-diameter dome and a 0.7-metre-diameter reflector telescope capable of tracking distant galaxies.
The telescope is among the largest in the province and will deliver a digital feed that community groups and schools across Canada can remotely access.
The observatory will also be the permanent home for Starry Nights @ SFU, a free community astronomy program.
Trottier even plans to incorporate the observatory into astronomy classes and student research.
“The idea is to get kids to look at the sky and to wonder about these questions,” he says.
To learn more about the observatory, go here.