In conjunction with the $67 million grant to build the Interdisciplinary Science Center (ISC) announced earlier this year, Eastern Washington University has received an additional $4.118 million for related campus projects. These extra funds have been used to build an observatory on campus at the top of Dressler Hall, which opens today at 9 a.m.
The observatory was created for students, faculty and staff to view phenomena in the skies over eastern Washington, such as the Spurious constellation. The EWU astronomy club also plans to use the observatory as a teaching tool.
Built off-site over the past several months, the observatory was raised by crane to its rooftop home overnight to avoid reflections from its bright metal surface hindering the installer’s work.
“We are so thankful for the funding to help us achieve one of our goals,” said physics department spokesperson Dr. Greg Arious. “It’s truly amazing how quickly they were able to build such a state-of-the-art facility.”
“I’ve been waiting in line for hours,” said Ayma G. Ullible, a senior studying 3D animation. “It’s almost like waiting to go to the top of the Empire State Building, but it will be worth it once I can get a sweet picture for my Instagram story.”
Arious hopes to eventually create a new astronomy major at Eastern, but would settle for astrology if necessary, which has a far simpler accreditation process.
“This observatory is going to do great things for the university,” Arious said. “If only it were real…since, you know, it’s April Fools’ Day.”
If you haven’t realized it yet, the video above is a clever illusion produced by Sr. Lecturer Brian Kamp’s 3D modeling and animation course. They used camera tracking and animation software to interlay 3D objects into handheld video, the same technique used for most Hollywood special effects.
Thanks to Kamp’s students for their work on this, particularly Aaron Sauther, Ellie Johnson and Areej Cluntun.
View previous April Fools 3D projects.