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Reflector Telescope “Goliath” Finally In Place at New Science Center Observatory


Larry Berz, Science Director at Francis Malcolm Science Center (left) and Connor St. Peter are dwarfed by the “Goliath” reflector telescope at the new observatory on the Science Center’s campus.  This past summer, St. Peter constructed the new observatory, along with a crew of volunteers, as part of his Eagle Scout project.

 photo/David Deschesne


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, November 17, 2021


EASTON, Maine—The reflector telescope, affectionately nicknamed “Goliath” has finally been placed in its new home in the new observatory at Francis Malcolm Science Center in Easton.

   The observatory was constructed over the summer of 2021 by Connor St. Peter as part of his Eagle Scout project—one of the most ambitious of this type of project for the Boy Scouts in this area, ever.

   St. Peter said the conclusion of the project is completely liberating.  “It’s amazing that all the stress and worry of the incompletion or postponing of this project is now gone and we can really enjoy [this equipment].  Soon enough, as confirmed by the board of directors who have had a couple viewing sessions so far with Goliath, we’re very excited to have different school programs in Aroostook County and the State of Maine visit this.”

   In the past, Connor had one opportunity to view the night sky through the massive telescope.  “Sadly, not many more times but I’ve been able to get away from school to come here and visit to see how it’s coming.”

   He said they had some recent problems with the eyepiece but those have since been corrected.

   Larry Berz, long-time Science Director at the Science Center is excited about the new infrastructure and finally having a home for the telescope, which was donated by Gary and Linda Doody in July, 2011 in memory of Michael Edwards. It has been stored inside the Science Center’s main building until now.

   “This is an instrument of such size and light-gathering ability that we’re capable of bringing the human eye into a relationship—a kind of cosmic communion—with the important wonders of our universe right now; the solar system, the deep clusters that you can see, of traveling the thousands and more light years and be able to see with clarity and resolution necessary the deep space wonder that is out there that we hope is going to provide motivation to County residents of all ages.”

   He said the Goliath telescope represents a new level for the kind of astronomy that the Science Center directors hope to see as part of the lives of the people in the area.

   “The key here is to be able to show to the communities here in Aroostook County and Western New Brunswick that there are telescopes of larger size that are available and it challenges the skill base of folks.  When you combine instruments like Goliath with some of the software and computer technology and digital opportunities for imaging, you really have an exciting new phase.”

   “What we want to do is grow maturation among the community to be able to investigate the stars with more knowledge, with more appliance, with more curiosity.” 

   He compared small, consumer telescopes to Goliath with a small hand plow verses a large tractor in agriculture.  “Because we’ve never seen large size telescopes like this for the public in Aroostook County it’s a whole new level, a whole new ‘Wow!’ factor, a whole new dazzlement to be able to bring people in to get involved with the universe.  Now, more than ever, we have to develop that sense of awe and overcome the night fright a lot of people have toward being outside or being in the dark.

   Berz pointed out the paradox that there is so much light in the dark.  “These are the themes that we hope large size telescopes are going to attract people to.  We want the Science Center to remain a venue and a leader in bringing people toward the stars.”

   The Science Center directors are still tip-toeing around the COVID-19 media-generated hysteria for normal group activities but are planning events and opportunities in the future for the public to use the telescope for special astronomical events.  Since the entire roof of the observatory is designed to roll off its walls, telescope viewers will be literally “outdoors” when operating the telescope.  Berz says there are some fascinating events coming up in the next year to look forward to.  “We want to be able to use it as frequently as possible but as you know in Aroostook County things are so weather-contingent.  On November 19 of this week there will be a lunar eclipse that will be occurring after midnight, but the big event we hope to use this observatory as a possible venue, is the great total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024.”

   For more information on the Science Center, visit: