The Peoria Astronomical Association (PAS) will hold an Open House and Dedication of the renovated Northmoor Observatory and Visitor Center on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The public is invited to attend. The Observatory will be open for tours from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. with the Dedication at 5:00 p.m. Northmoor Observatory is located on Peoria Park District’s Donovan Golf Course at 5805 N. Knoxville.
Renovation of the Observatory was made possible by donations from the residents of Central Illinois, the PAS membership, Caterpillar Foundation, Community Foundation of Central Illinois, the Peoria Park District and through the skilled assistance of volunteers from the West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trade Council. Northmoor Observatory houses the largest refractor telescope in Central Illinois. This historic telescope was manufactured by the Gaertner Scientific Equipment Company of Chicago in 1911. The optical lenses were ground by world famous optician, Octave Petitidedier, who also ground the lenses for research at the University of Chicago to determine the speed of light.
For more than 50 years, members of PAS have provided a community outreach program allowing the residents of Central Illinois the opportunity to view the night skies through this world class telescope. Northmoor Observatory is open to the public every Saturday from May until October and is staffed by trained volunteers from PAS.