The David Thompson Astronomical Observatory sits under construction at Fort William Historical Park.
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While it may seem like a stretch, a new observatory is a natural extension of preserving the fur trade.
The David Thompson Astronomical Observatory will open Dec. 5 at Fort William Historical Park. Thompson, considered one of the greatest explorers in Canadian history, mapped nearly four million square kilometres of North America for the Northwest Company in the 1800s.
And he used the night’s sky to do it. He looked to the skies so much in fact that some native tribes he travelled with called him “The Stargazer”.
The observatory named after him will feature a few more technological advances than he would be used to however. It will boast a 20 inch telescope, one of the largest available to the public in the region.
“It really does sort of bring us into the space age,” fort spokesman Marty Mascarin said.
Along with that, the observatory will be able to create still and video images of what it captures. Those images will be relayed to computers inside the newly built discovery centre, which is next to the astronomical dome.
“We’re not just confined to a live viewing,” Mascarin said. “There are so many different components to it.”
The dome was originally slated to open in November, but construction and staff training among other things have held the project back a month.
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