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In Photos: STAHR-Gazing at the Loomis-Michael Observatory

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A view from the eighth-floor deck below the observatory showcases stunning views of the campus and the Boston skyline beyond it. It is also a chance to sight stars to find with the telescope later.

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A custom-made spherical structure holding a chair found on the deck is used to visualize rotation of a celestial body.

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A weather vane on the deck stands completely still beneath the stars. The STAHR observatory is only opened when wind speeds are less than 25 miles per hour.

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A plaque at the base of the telescope describes the place and year of its manufacture. Donated by Walter Michael in 1976, the telescope is the centerpiece of the observatory.

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The telescope is directed towards a vertical opening in the dome. An older, 10-inch refracting model, the telescope works by using several lenses to funnel and focus light into the eyepiece. The 150-inch-long focal length allows the telescope to magnify more than 300 times, rendering enough detail to see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, some 400 million miles away.

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Artwork from generations of students in STAHR adorns the walls and rim of the dome. Other pieces, like a student-designed wooden chair and ladder, move along the dome to assist students in adjusting the telescope.

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The slow, motorized opening of the dome reveals the night sky, decorated with stars.

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The telescope is carefully moved into position. Following recent repairs due to water damage, several additional precautions are taken while maneuvering the telescope.

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With the dome opened and the telescope prepared, we direct the lens toward the moon. The image in the eyepiece is controlled by a focus knob. Careful manipulation of the telescope reveals a close-up image of the moon.

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