An RV resort in Benson, Ariz., has expanded its amenity package to include an on-site observatory.
According to the News-Sun, seasonal residents and visitors at Benson’s Butterfield RV Resort will now be able to enlist in an astronomy program at the campground.
“This is the first RV resort in the country to have its own on-site observatory for the use of its guests,” said owner Sim Capon. “The astronomy program at Butterfield is geared to both beginners, including children, and advanced observers.”
The program will soon offer classes, guided observation sessions and opportunities for individual research projects.
According to Capon, the facility is a university-quality installation and consists of an electrically operated dome measuring 15 feet in diameter, a computer-controlled telescope along with a control room and workshop.
“We want to make Benson a destination point and not just one for passing through,” said Capon.
In the works for about a year, the observatory enjoyed its “First Light” last Friday, said Fredrick Lovret, a seasonal resident at the RV resort who oversees the observatory.
He said the inaugural viewing was not entirely glitch-free but assured that the telescope would soon be operating at its full potential.
Capon said the observatory would soon have the capability of allowing users to tie into the system via their personal computers.
Another goal in the immediate future is to transmit via satellite so users can hear what it sounds like in outer space, said Alvin Philliber, director of guest services at the RV resort.
“We had about a half-dozen people before dawn for the First Light,” Philliber said, noting the facility can be used by the public, although exact details have yet to be worked out.