May 13, 2014

JAMESTOWN - A new telescope at Guilford Technical Community College's Cline Observatory will be installed beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 14 at GTCC's Jamestown Campus, 601 High Point Road. The new 24-inch reflecting telescope will replace the observatory's existing 16-inch telescope and allow star gazers to see farther into the universe and observe fainter objects with greater clarity.

California-based PlaneWave Instruments ( will be installing the telescope, which will include four pieces (pier base, mount polar axis assembly, mount fork assembly and telescope) lifted by a crane into the observatory's dome. The entire process will take up to three hours to complete.  

Cline Observatory's new telescope is a PlaneWave Instruments CDK24 Corrected Dall-Kirkham Astrograph telescope with an f/6.5 aperture, allowing users to see fainter asteroids and moons and dimmer stars in the Milky Way. The telescope's optical design provides astroimaging quality that exceeds the performance of most commercial telescope designs, including Cline Observatory's previous 16-inch telescope. The telescope also features a camera for imaging and research projects conducted by GTCC astronomy students.

With the installation of the CDK24, GTCC's Cline Observatory will be the third largest permanent telescope at an educational institution in North Carolina, tied with UNC-Chapel Hill's Morehead Observatory. Both Three College Observatory - operated jointly by UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University and Guilford College - and Appalachian State University's Dark Sky Observatory feature 32-inch instruments.

Cline Observatory plans to open at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 16 for its regularly scheduled free public viewing night, featuring the new telescope. A formal grand opening celebration will be held in June. For more information, visit or contact Tom English, professor of astronomy at GTCC and director of Cline Observatory, at (336) 334-4822 ext. 50023 or

Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of 58 institutions in the NC Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from four major campuses and three specialized centers. Learn more at


- Carla Kucinski/GTCC