New telescope in East Valley enhances learning

By Luis E. Castellanos

Front Page Editor

Senate minority leader Nancy Pelosi, speaks to congress on September 6, about the benefits of DACA

Photo Courtesy of AP Images

College of the Desert recently revealed its new telescope that was generously donated by local resident, Ivoj Kudrnac. The first revealing or in the astronomical world is known as the “First Light,” happened on Sept. 18, 2017. Kudrnac generously donated his 17″ Plane Wave telescope because of his passion for astronomy. Not only did he provide COD with this gift, he also donated enough money to build a one meter telescope for the college which will be housed in a 16′ dome in the Mecca/ Thermal satellite campus. These gifts have provided the college with state-of-the-art equipment for students and helps with instruction, research and other educational purposes.

College of the Desert has begun using the telescope during this fall and plans to improve COD’s Astronomy courses. The college plans to primarily use the observatory complex for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students. During the spring semester, COD is planning on swapping out the 17″ telescope for the currently being build meter telescope. The telescope will be primarily accessible to students but the purpose of the telescope is to become an entire observatory complex that will be used to better teaching and learning. COD is committed to extend the access to K-12 and community partners as well. The soon-to-be observatory will also be host to events where the public will be able to attend and experience the telescope.

COD’s Interim Vice President, Jeff Baker took part when first discussing with Mr. Kudrnac regarding the donation of his 17″ telescope and was able to give a few words regarding the new addition to the Mecca/ Thermal campus. Baker strongly believes the telescope will improve learning for not only STEM students but for all students who decide to take an astronomy course or for eager visitors who enjoy looking up at the night sky.

COD’s Astronomy and Physics Professor, Ahmed Elshafie, was also able to give a few words regarding the new telescope. When asked what improvements the science field at COD would improve, Elshafie stated, “Every field would be greatly improved, it doesn’t matter whether it is electrical, mechanical, astronomy, biology or STEM field, and not just STEM, but every field across the board at College of the Desert. Elshafie also presented a very high sense of excitement when talking about the donation of the telescope. Elshafie was given the chance to be a part of the meeting with the donor, Ivoj Kudrnac, regarding the donation of his personal 17″ telescope and the upcoming meter long PlaneWave telescope. Elshafie spoke with PlaneWave’s CEO, Richard Hedrick, at the Robotics Telescope, Student Research and Education Conference in San Diego. Elshafie said 26 students were given the opportunity to intern with NASA. The students took part in the internship from February 2017 to August 2017. Students were able to present their inventions at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in August. For more information regarding this story and their following plans to create a CubeSat for NASA go to LOCAL pg. 3.

The 17” telescope was already revealed on September 17. The meter long telescope will be unveiled sometime in the spring.

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