Gift protects observatory on top of Van Allen Hall
Friday, August 23, 2013

The University of Iowa has a new dome protecting its rooftop astronomical observatory, courtesy of a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

astronomical observatory dome
The dome installed atop Van Allen Hall. Photo by Aaron Votroubek.

The dome, an important part of the observatory used for undergraduate student instruction, is mounted atop Van Allen Hall. It replaces a dome that had become outdated for classroom and public use and had been in place since Van Allen Hall was constructed in the early 1960s.

The dome itself is an Astro Haven Observatory, consisting of a multi-layered fiberglass structure that opens and closes electronically, according to Aaron Votroubek, administrator for the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

He adds that graduate students assisted in the assembly of the dome prior to its being hoisted by a crane to the top of the building this week and notes that a formal unveiling of the dome will be scheduled later in the semester.