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Observatory Back In Operation

The Harry Bayley Observatory is back in business and better than ever after a British organization rallied to its cause with a donation of about BDS$1 million.

During an open day at the Observatory Road, St. Michael, facility on Saturday [10 May] in celebration of World Astronomy Day, president of the Barbados Astronomical Society, Ricardo Small, proudly showcased a number of new pieces of high-tech equipment which had brought the Observatory into the 21st Century.

During the course of the day, we hope to unveil our new 80mm solar scope, which would allow people to look at the Sun using hydrogen lighting. This is part of our new additions which include a fully computerized 16-inch Meade LX600 Cassegrain telescope - the largest of its type in the Eastern Caribbean - and a NASA-designed Malin camera which can be attached to it and allow us to capture images taken by telescope,' he said, adding they had plans to order a spectroscope as an additional analytical tool.

Small said the money would be also used to make improvements to the physical structure of the Observatory. He said all of this was made possible after British-based Sfumato Foundation came to the rescue.

"The Sfumato Foundation is a philantropic organization dedicated to educational institutions. When we had closed, we put out proposals for assistance and a representative of the Foundation saw our proposals and visited the Observatory. The rest is history," he said.

In 2011, vandals broke into the now 51-year old Observatory, damaging the artefact case and throwing antique navigational instruments on the floor, although nothing was stolen except a bottle of rum. Another unsuccessful attempt was made shortly after to break into the dome where the telescope was held. The incidents resulted in the Observatory remaining mostly closed. Small called the acts 'ignorance' as he said the Observatory was vitally important to tourism.

World Astronomy Day, 2014

Photo by Sharon Harding

This time around, however, he said theywere taking no chances security-wise.

"We have extensive, multi-layered security in place. If anyone comes here who is not supposed to, we would know. We are not going to let something like that happen twice," he said.

The Harry Bayley Observatory fully re-opened in March.(CA)

Daily Nation - Monday 12 May, 2014


Alan Dyer's 'The Amazing Sky' Presentation

On November 16, members of the Barbados Astronomical Society and their friends gathered at the newly renovated Harry Bayley Observatory for a photo presentation entitled 'The Amazing Sky',conducted by well-known Canadian astrophotographer, writer and editor, Alan Dyer. Mr. Dyer captivated his audience with his lively commentary and stunning photos, including ones of the November 3rd hybrid solar eclipse, taken in mid-Atlantic aboard the sail ship 'Star Flyer'. The Barbados Astronomical Society is very grateful to Mr. Dyer for his time, presence and help in inaugurating a new chapter in the Observatory's history.

Alan Dyer

Alan Dyer