Historic Giant Telescope Comes to Northwest Arkansas

1911 Brashear Refractor to arrive in Bentonville at 10 a.m. Saturday (July 29)

1911 Brashear Refractor

With the financial and logistical support of Explore Scientific in Springdale, Ark., and Airways Freight in Fayetteville, Ark., the nonprofit Supporting STEM and Space Inc. is bringing one of the largest refracting telescopes in the U.S. to Northwest Arkansas to serve as a centerpiece in a STEM center, observatory and planetarium being planned for the I-49 corridor.

At 10 a.m. Saturday (July 29), the massive telescope, which was donated to the organization earlier this year by Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, will complete a more than 1,200 mile journey from the observatory it has called home since 1911 to a facility at 801 S.E. 8th Street in Bentonville.

We share in the vision of Supporting STEM and Space, and we believe the 24-inch Brashear Refractor will serve as a catalyst to build support from the community to help the organization achieve its goal of proliferating scientific literacy throughout the state.

Scott Roberts, Founder and President of Explore Scientific

Although the college paid for disassembling and loading the telescope, Supporting STEM and Space Inc. had to cover transportation of the huge refractor, which has a 24-inch objective lens, a 36-foot optical tube and a cast iron mount and pier weighing in at 50,000 pounds. To help shoulder the cost and assist in coordinating the move, Explore Scientific stepped in.

"We share in the vision of Supporting STEM and Space, and we believe the 24-inch Brashear Refractor will serve as a catalyst to build support from the community to help the organization achieve its goal of proliferating scientific literacy throughout the state," said Explore Scientific Founder and President Scott Roberts, who also serves on the board of Supporting STEM and Space Inc.

Roberts reached out to Airways Freight in Fayetteville to garner their support. The company, which has a wealth of experience in moving delicate cargo, was happy to step up.

"We put all the planning, timing and scheduling together in conjunction with the university as well as the organization," said Michael Beckers of Airways Freight on Thursday (July 27). "Two truckloads are leaving today. The third transport is going to be a specialty truck dedicated only to the objective lens because of its value and uniqueness."

Once the telescope arrives in the storage facility supplied by 8th Street Market in Bentonville, it will be refurbished and readied to inspire Northwest Arkansans for decades to come, according to Katherine Auld, chair of Supporting STEM and Space Inc.'s board of directors. The lengthy restoration process will include everything from stripping paint to pulling out all of the device's motor mounts and mechanisms that required a 6-foot console to operate and replacing them with modern motors that can be run from a laptop.

"We could not have done this without the amazing help from both Airways Freight and Explore Scientific," said Auld. "We were working on raising the funds but the fact that they stepped in and covered the shipping means that now we can cover the insurance. That's really awesome!"

Explore Scientific is dedicated to supporting the nonprofit and its efforts to promote STEM education in Northwest Arkansas. Currently, the company is donating portions of its sales of safe solar-filtered eclipse glasses to the organization.

For more information on Supporting STEM and Space Inc. and this project, visit http://nwa.space/sproul. For more information on Airways Freight, visit http://www.airwaysfreight.com. For more information on Explore Scientific, visit http://explorescientific.com

Source: Supporting STEM and Space Inc.

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Categories: Photography, Hobbies and Crafts

Tags: Astronomy, Northwest Arkansas, Space, STEM, Telescope


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About Explore Scientific

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Explore Scientific is a Science and Outdoor Lifestyle company, specializing in telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, sports optics, and other outdoor products.

Explore Scientific
1010 S. 48th Street
Springdale, AR 72762
United States