Bruneau Dunes State Park new observatory with massive telescope set to debut

Bruneau Dunes State Park, new telescope
Posted at 2:25 PM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-01 16:55:43-04

Idaho’s largest and most advanced telescope has a new home.

Bruneau Dunes State Park debuted a new observatory featuring a new galactic gadget that can capture the cosmos with astonishing precision.

The $2.7 million development features a rotating dome that protects a powerful CDK700 telescope. The super-powered device features a 700-millimeter aperture. This wide lens allows a deeper look at outer space outshining the park's trusty, yet aging, 25-year-old scope.

The observatory, itself, also has new and improved features. The site is wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned, and even has the ability for theater-level presentations with music and sound effects.

Greg Harman, an astronomer at the park, told Idaho News 6 the new camera has many features. “The astrophotography, the imaging, we can do video astronomy. We can basically show live images where we can show what's currently on the telescope. Then also, the research."

The park is set to partner with local university students to conduct research at the park, Harman explained.

"Bring your families. It is such an awesome experience to see the sand dunes, to see the stars at night, to see the milky way," Harman said.

The project was made possible via state and federal stimulus funding appropriated by the 2022 Idaho Legislature. The June 1st site dedication also marks a quarter-century of astronomy programming at the Owyhee County state park.

The first public showing of the observatory is scheduled for June 16th. Park information can be found here.