Warkoczewski Observatory on the roof of UMKC’s Royall Hall is again open to the public on clear Friday nights April through October. And through the “Warko” (pronounced ‘var-co’) one can see clearly the rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s moons, the craters of the Moon and other distant astronomical sights. (To see if it will be open, visit http://cas.umkc.edu/physics/warko)
Director Dan McIntosh (Physics) is currently involved in a major research project with colleagues at other universities employing the Hubble Telescope to study the origins and growth of galaxies. But he also says it is still a real treat to look at the planets and the Warko lets him and others do so amazingly well.
There is an amazing story behind the 900-pound telescope and the Observatory as well. The scope was built by amateur astronomer Stanley Warkocszewski over a ten-year period and first installed behind his home in south Kansas City where he used it to observe and photograph the night-time skies before donating it to UMKC. (See his 1970 photo of the Comet Bennett below). Warkoczewski followed his telescope to UMKC and became an Instructor with duties dealing with astronomy.
The telescope was donated to UMKC in 1974 and the Observatory was opened on the roof of Royall Hall.
McIntosh reports that a new telescope will be joining the Warco and one other now in place. A new dome to house the expanded observatory is planned for the near future. Even with some intrusion of urban sky-glow, he believes that those who visit the UMKC Observatory will be very surprised and pleased with their view of the heavens from so close to home.
Members of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City will be present to guide their tour. For a view of the “Warko” today see: http://cas.umkc.edu/physics/warko/
For more on Dan’s research on galaxies see: