Boyden Observatory (IAU code 074) is an astronomical research observatory and science education centre. It was originally founded by
Harvard Universityand placed near Lima, Peruin 1889. In 1927, it was moved to its present location just south of the small resort of Maselspoort, north- eastof the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa, and is managed by the University of the Free State. It was named after Uriah A. Boyden, who in 1879left in his will $238,000 to Harvard College Observatoryto be used for astronomical purposes. Its first and longtime director was John S. Paraskevopoulos.
The Observatory houses the third largest optical
telescopein South Africa, namely the 60-inch (1.5 meter) UFS-Boyden Rockefeller reflector. Other telescopes include the 13-inch (33 cm) Alvin Clark refractorwhich is over a century old, the historical 10-inch (25 cm) Metcalf Triplet refractor, the 16-inch (40 cm) Nishimura reflector, the 16-inch (40 cm) Watcher robotic telescope, a 20 cm Coelostat solar telescopeand various smaller mobile telescopes.
Facilities include the main building where the original offices were and where the library is, the resident astronomer's house, a state-of-the-art
auditoriumseating 100 people inside and 200 people on its roof for open-air sky shows, the main telescope buildings, smaller telescope buildings, a lecture room, store room, the ASSABloemfontein clubhouse, observation platforms and various vantage points.
Boyden Observatory performs professional
astrophysicsresearch using the 1.5 meter reflector. In addition to the research program, the observatoryruns an active educational program for school children from all backgrounds as well as for members of the public, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
observatoryis administered by the Physics Department of the University of the Free Statewith Dr. Matie Hoffman at the head of the educational program and Prof. Pieter Meintjes at the head of the research program. The Friends of Boyden assist the observatoryas a public support group, organising open evenings and protecting its public interest. Boyden also makes use of members of ASSA BloemfonteinCentre, the amateur astronomyclub of the city, for presenters and telescope assistants.
observatoryis constantly experiencing growth in visitor numbers and the extension of its facilities. Medium term plans call for e.g. the establishment of an educational walking route for visitors to appreciate the diverse natural life in the area, a museum and science exhibition areas, upgrading of the educational telescope facilities etc. Long term plans include the construction of a digital planetariumand the completion of the fully-fledged Science Hall.
* [http://www.assabfn.co.za/friendsofboyden/boyden.htm Boyden Observatory]
* [http://www.assabfn.co.za/friendsofboyden/index.htm Friends of Boyden]
* [http://www.uovs.ac.za University of the Free State]
List of astronomical observatories
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