Lake Afton Public Observatory
|Organization||Wichita Board of Education and Wichita State University's Fairmount Center for Science and Mathematics|
|Location||Wichita, Kansas (USA)|
Lake Afton Public Observatory (LAPO) is an astronomical observatory located southwest of Wichita, Kansas in a rural area of Sedgwick County on the north side of Lake Afton. At the heart of the observatory is a 16-inch (410 mm) Ritchey–Chrétien telescope. The observatory offers programs for the public every weekend throughout the year along with various private, and school programs throughout the week.
It was established in 1979 through the cooperation and support of Sedgwick County, the City of Wichita, and Wichita State University's Fairmount Center for Science and Mathematics Education. The Observatory was operated by Wichita State University's Fairmount Center with additional funds from Sedgwick County for facilities.
In June 2015, Wichita State University announced they were closing the Observatory on August 22, 2015, as the school could no longer justify its expense.
Local astronomers began working with city officials and Wichita State University in order to reopen the observatory as a non-profit group. On June 29, the Wichita Eagle reported that an agreement between the City, Wichita State, and the Kansas Astronomical Observers had been reached and that the observatory would reopen over Labor Day weekend of 2016.
The Observatory is reopening to the public on September 2, 2016.
Driving directions from the interchange at I-235 and US-54/US-400 (a.k.a. Kellogg): 13 miles west on US-54/US-400, then 3 miles south on 263rd St. W, then 0.8 miles east on 39th St. S (a.k.a. MacArthur), observatory is located on the north side of the road.
The Observatory is open to the public every Friday and Saturday, with varying times.
- May to August, 9:00-11:00 p.m.
- September, 8:00-10:00 p.m.
- October to February, 7:30-10:00 p.m.
- March, 8:00-10:00 p.m.
- April, 8:30-10:30 p.m.
- Lake Afton Public Observatory to close; The Wichita Eagle; July 14, 2015.
- Dunn, Gabriella. "Lake Afton Observatory comes out of the 'dark ages'". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Shaar, Deborah (12 August 2015). "Local Astronomy Group Working To Keep Lake Afton Public Observatory Open". KMUW 89.1 Wichita Public Radio. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Lake Afton Public Observatory Map
- About the Observatory
- Events & Happenings at the Observatory
- Map to the Observatory
- Sedgwick County Maps: Current, Historic, KDOT
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