A "star" attraction will open this weekend in Rancho Mirage. The Coachella Valley’s first public telescope is opening for the universe to see.
"It’s not something that will just be behind closed doors specifically for research purposes. This is for people to come and experience the night sky," says astronomer Eric McLaughlin.
McLaughlin is the city’s first astronomer, here to share knowledge with the Coachella Valley. "It is a 27 millimeter or 27 1/2 inch diameter mirror which makes it quite powerful," he says.
It’s so powerful, the moon is too close and too bright for the telescope. He says, "It will be able to view not only planets and asteroids and things nearby, but also look deep into the milky way look at nebuli, and hopefully be to see extra solar planets at least the signatures of them."
In other words, you can see galaxy’s far, far away. But that’s not all, if you go to the cosmic office, you can see where different planets are for yourself. So if you say you want to see Jupiter, they can make that happen. It would be able to take a picture in under 30 seconds.
The observatory is located right next to the Rancho Mirage library. McLaughlin says, "I’m really excited about the opportunity to merge the literary world and the science world all in one campus."
McLaughlin hopes the observatory will inspire other kids with an interest in the stars. "To being able to come here and learn in a way that Google and the internet will be somewhat lacking on," he says.
The grand opening is Sunday, March 25th, at 2pm.