The RFTStars Community Observatory & Learning Center
Built by the community, for the community.
We have a large task ahead of us, but together, anything is possible. Our vision takes us to an area just outside the city of Tucson, avoiding the main light pollution, to a facility that's large enough to host 30-50 people at a time. It will have offices for our full-time staff and volunteers, an electronically secure storage area for our equipment with key-card access, a large open room with tables for volunteer work i.e. astronomy activities, telescope building, training, teaching and group tasks. A standard observatory dome would be far too expensive, and wouldn't be able to allow for stargazing from inside, so we have set our sites on a "Roll off Roof" observatory - a rectangular room at least 50x40 feet, with a standard single peak roof that is mounted to the 2 longest walls on large rollers. This allows the entire roof to be rolled off the the whole building and allows the entire sky to be visible with plenty of room for people and equipment - which /would be a separate extension from the main office building. This will house 2+ large telescopes on piers (cocreate pillars that are built into the Earth with a floating floor around them to avoid and vibrations form people inside), contain educational décor, have a direct access to the secure storage area and have a warm-room(control room that's separate from the open-roof area at the far end. We have a design on paper, a budget, and we are raising money to make this happen. We need your support to get this operational and into the lives of Southern Arizona. This will be a hub for astronomy enthusiast, families, Astro photographers, and a open arms collaborative space to spread the proven benefits of astronomy with as many people as possible through our programs, events, classes and camps.
This is an example of of what we have in mind (not our image, but shows the large open roof area and space along with a separate building and room for nonprofit programs.