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The newly updated Eugene V. Thomsen Observatory at Southwestern Adventist University is open to the public. The observatory now has a 10-foot Thomas Back APO Chromatic telescope, mount, lenses and cameras. 

Southwestern Adventist University founded the Thomsen Observatory in 1984 through the generosity of alums Dennis and Connie Dickerson and the efforts of academic dean Hal Wright and physics professor Roy Campbell.

The observatory’s name honors the memory of Eugene V. Thomsen, a modern languages professor and formerly Southwestern’s academic dean. Under Campbell’s direction, the observatory became a favorite Friday evening venue for SWAU and the Keene community.

Several years ago, the original reflector telescope was replaced with a new 10-foot refractor telescope. Thanks to the efforts of several faculty, alumni, and community members and the generosity of the Thomsen family, the Observatory is functioning once again, but now with the option of either astrophotography or eyepiece viewing.

Many additional upgrades are still needed, but the first photos (Orion Nebula and the M3 star cluster, shown in gallery) were taken April 11, 2018. Watch the calendar for upcoming viewing nights or email observatory@swau.edu.

Join the Thomsen Observatory on the first and third Friday of every month for evening star parties. Learn more at swau.edu/observatory.

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