A delegation of Boston University faculty joined Discovery Channel Telescope's other Partners to celebrate the 'first light' of the telescope- observing a distant astronomical object for the first time.
The event was held in Flagstaff, Arizona to celebrate the successful completion of constructing a world-class, state-of-the-art telescope by the private non-profit Lowell Observatory and partners, including BU and Discovery Communications.
The $53 million, 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope was completed without any state or federal funding. The collaboration between Lowell Observatory and its partners will be featured on-air in a one-hour special on Discovery Channel in early September 2012, which will document the planning and construction of the telescope.
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BU leaders are enthralled by the national attention they are receiving for their venture in the field of Astronomy.
"This engagement will open up enviable opportunities for high level science for our astronomers, and great prospects for important work on science education, communication and outreach for the broader BU community," said Virginia Sapiro, Dean of Boston University College of Arts & Sciences, who also sits on the Advisory Board of the Lowell Observatory.
Apart from the keynote speech by Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the Moon, the First Light Gala featured "first light" DCT images taken in May of galaxy M109 and other astronomical objects.
Testing and commissioning of the Discovery Channel Telescope, which is located 45 miles southeast of Flagstaff near Happy Jack, AZ, will continue for at least another 18 months, as is typical with four- meter class telescopes. Structured scientific research is expected to begin in 2013 or 2014.