Tri-Valley Stargazers Reveals Major Equipment Donation
November 17, 2020: Tri-Valley Stargazers is excited to announce it has received a significant donation of equipment that will help replace the observatory destroyed by fire at its dark sky observing site H2O (Hidden Hill Observatory).
The donation, given by David Friedberg, CEO of The Production Board (https://www.theproductionboard.com/), consists of a 20” PlaneWave Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) Telescope, a Mathis MI-750 Fork mount, and a motorized 3.5 meter Observa-DOME.
These components will allow TVS to build a new observatory at H2O that goes far beyond its predecessor and will enable a new generation of advanced dark sky observing.
The 20” Planewave CDK has a carbon fiber truss tube design that provides excellent off-axis correction of coma and astigmatism, and with its completely flat fields is well-suited for large format imaging. The Mathis MI-750 Fork mount is capable of supporting 200lbs and will more than carry the new telescope and its accessories.
In addition to this wonderful gift, TVS is excited to reveal our updated fundraising goals and programs. While the current donations are more than sufficient to support the construction and equipping of this new observatory, we need your help now to best optimize this wonderful gift.
Creating a full featured H2O main observatory would add a 2nd new telescope and different building configuration to support two observing instruments; one new system for visual astronomy, while the donated 20” Planewave would be dedicated to astrophotography including supporting remote control.
To reach this stretch goal TVS is asking for your ongoing support in three ways. Please consider a cash donation through our GoFundMe campaign, through PayPal on the clubs website, or through your business or employer using the Brevity donation platform.
TVS accepts donations of working astronomy equipment and would evaluate and accept your useful in-kind donation offer if it can help the club. Examples are adding a mount or telescope to our equipment loaner program, using updated devices at H2O, or building a new telescope from a large donated mirror. We encourage you to contact the club to discuss your donation or in-kind offer idea: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Additionally, TVS is now accepting proposals for sponsorship of H2O. This increased donation level would provide benefits such as special access to H2O, memorabilia and more. Contact the club to learn more about sponsorship: (email@example.com)
Mr. Friedberg's generous donation to TVS has turned the tragedy and destruction of the H2O fire into a shining moment for the club, and we thank you for this opportunity to expand our community's access to astronomy. This truly awesome gift will enable the club to carry on its mission at the highest levels; bring together astronomy enthusiasts, provide opportunities to develop astronomy skills and knowledge, to promote education and public interest in astronomy, and most of all to have fun observing the unique dark skies at H2O.
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The Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club (TVS) is sad to report that our main observatory building and the telescopes inside were destroyed on August 19, 2020 during the historic SCU Lightning Complex wildfires in California. This was a devastating loss for the club, but we are committed to rebuilding and now need your help.
Our observatory, whose history goes back nearly 40 years, is located south of Livermore in one of the Bay area's premier dark-sky observing locations. The facility itself is on property we call “Hidden Hill Observatory”, or “H2O”, and has been a well loved club treasure and resource for decades, and now the main building and telescopes sit in ruins.
The fire (the third largest in California history) happened near the end of an extensive 2-year renovation project that included improvements to the main building and equipment. Destroyed were the building, a generously donated research-grade tracking mount, two custom-built telescopes with 18-inch diameter mirrors, a set of premium eyepieces, and all the supporting electronics and accessories. H2O is an important element of the club’s astronomy outreach program and has been used by members and the public since its opening. The telescope has supported many years of advanced amateur research. The value of the building and equipment destroyed exceeds our ability to replace it on our own.
As of Sept 1, 2020 this situation is still unfolding. The club’s board of directors recently had their first post-fire inspection at the H2O site as it is still an active fire and evacuation zone. A few pictures from before and after the fire can be seen above, as well as some photos from community outreach events.
The goal of the fundraising campaign is to enable us to build and equip a new observatory. We want to continue the observatory’s rich history, and look forward to and plan for more decades of astronomical observing in the Tri-Valley and greater San Francisco Bay Area.
TVS is asking for your donations because the club operates on very limited resources, mainly coming from gifts of cash and equipment by club members. We will need your help rebuilding an observatory that is technically advanced enough to let stargazers take in the most the night sky has to offer from this special dark sky location. Significant resources will be needed to rebuild as the facility has unique challenges. It is far from populated areas and services and isn’t easily accessible and it means our rebuild will require special and careful planning.
Your donation will go directly to fund the rebuilding of the observatory, replacing the destroyed telescopes, mounts and accessories, ongoing maintenance, and preparing it all for the club and community to use and enjoy. If this campaign is successfully funded the reconstruction schedule will be as follows:
2020 - Develop building plans and construction schedule
2021 - Observatory construction, equipment purchases
2022 - Telescope deployment and opening ceremony
We will update build progress here and to the community over the coming months with news about the observatory build and its progress towards the opening ceremony.
Please help support astronomy in the Bay Area by making a donation to the Tri-Valley Stargazers Observatory Rebuilding Fund today. You can learn more about TVS and our outreach activities such as school and public star parties, public lectures and STEM support at www.trivalleystargazers.org. Please help spread the news about the fire and and the H2O story and our request for help.
Everyone should look up and value what the night sky has to offer. Consider becoming a member, especially if you are located in the Tri-Valley or SF bay area, here: www.trivalleystargazers.org or check out our discussion forum: https://groups.io/g/trivalleystargazers/topics for even more club and observatory build news. We can also be found on facebook as Tri-Valley Stargazers Astronomy Club.
Tri-Valley Stargazers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible as provided by law.