UCCI takes step towards local observatory

| 15/08/2011

(CNS): The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) Observatory Project, ‘Reach for the Stars’, broke ground on Thursday, 11 August, taking the university a step closer to having the region’s second largest telescope on campus. The fully-computerised 12.5” f/4.8 Newtonian reflector, built by Dr. William Hrudey of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, is expected to stimulate and encourage local interest in science and astronomy. Dr Hrudey spent around six years constructing the telescope to donate to UCCI. Due to its size, the telescope requires a proper home and a committee consisting of UCCI President Roy Bodden, faculty members from UCCI, an architect, a former planning inspector and Hrudey was formed to take on the creation of an observatory.

With the support of Cayman’s corporate community, led by Dart Foundation and Greenlight Re, the project is progressing at a steady pace and soon UCCI students and the wider community will be able to have access to the telescope, which can be used to view the sun as well as the night skies.

“I think this is an exciting time for Cayman and UCCI. A great deal of work has gone into this project thus far and it is rewarding to see it approaching fruition,” said Dr Hrudey on the day ground was broken for the telescope's new home.

He underscored the importance of making the observatory available to both school children and adults, and that school tours could beconducted during the day and early evening, while courses on astronomy and telescope-making could be offered after hours.

“An Annual Science Week programme will be established wherein noted academics will be invited to Cayman to speak in the school and give public evening lectures to promote the study of science. We also hope to establish links with other universities and perhaps even offer sabbatical programmes in the future,” Dr Hrudey said.

The president said he was elated about the project and that it would place UCCI on the cutting edge of science teaching. “I believe that the challenges of the 21st century will be solved by science and technology, so I am pleased that these subject areas are being established firmly in courses at the University College,” he said. “I would like to express sincere appreciation to Dr Hrudey, all the sponsors and, of course, the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and I wish to reassure the public that this is their observatory as well, and we look forward to welcoming them here in the very near future.”

The largest telescope in the region is in the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It is also the world’s largest radio telescope.

See details of Dr Hrurdy’s telescope and the plans for the observatory below.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (14)

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  1. Like It Is says:

    We will be leading the way in Christian astronomy to prove that the Universe is 6,000 years old.

    • Pending says:

      So how will McKeeva explain the Chrisitan Heritage Park and the 2nd largest telescope in the Caribbean being within miles of each other?

      Bit of a contradiction there.


  2. Bill says:

    For those interested in viewing a You Tube video of the telescope, use this link:


    Remember, astronomy comprises many other disciplines – math, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.  Though astronomy is the starting point in this project, the intent is to encourage interest in all sciences.

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    Good initative!

    And for those of us who might be thinking that we will soon have our own 'Space Program', or who might even be confusing it with 'Star Trek' – this is a bit different…

    But it is still about stars… And not to be confused with movie stars…

    This is an excellent idea though…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Finally, a project that can widen our consciousness instead of the political and narrow ego-driven money wasting schemes/scams of the Churches. As this gains popularity, can't wait to hear how the Churches pervert and juxtapose the wonders of the Universe with the Bible. There were dinosaurs in the garden of eden…? How does 6000 years jive with 14 billion years…?   

    • Satirony says:

      15.25. We can now be certain that dinosaurs shared this planet with mankind. You can see the evidence at Mr. Ham's creationist museum in the US. As you enter, you are confronted with a film showing Diplodocus cavorting playfully with Fred Flintstone and his entire family. Furthermore, those dagger-like serrated teeth of T. Rex were designed to munch grass not meat, showing that dinosaurs were in complete harmony with mankind in the Garden of Eden. The centerpiece of the museum is a block of stone with the fossilized footprint of a Homo Sapiens which is pressed into the clearfootprint of a Diplodocus. This clearly demonstrates that the past five hundred years of science is in error. It's wonderful to think of  the constant stream of innocent children who are exposed to this 'museum of truth."


      Furthermore, a letter to the Compass a few years ago explained in exquisite detail how the age of 6,000 years for Earth is arrived at. The age of each character in the Old Testament is known, so these ages can be added up to take you back to the exact moment of creation of Adam. The writer knew  that God had created the Sabbath as a day of rest and prayer, and these calculations are so precise, that they knew it was actually a Saturday, not a Sunday. One interesting consequence of this fact is that to pray  on a Saturday is a waste of time, as God only listens to prayers on Saturday, so the joke is on the majority of Christians.


      Another proof for the age of the World was explained to me by a professor on TBN about six years ago. I know he was a professor because he wore a white coat and round spectacles, and there were a lot of expensive scientific  books on a shelf just behind his head. He told me that vast amounts of water trapped under the Earth's crust exploded up through the Mid-atlantic tectonic rift with such force that it reached the stratosphere. It then  crashed down onto the Americas and eroded the Grand canyon in just a few days. The process, he insisted, was accelerated by cavitation. This is well known to designers of ship's propellors, and in the case of the high-pressure water passing through the turbine feeder-pipes of the Hoover Dam, can  cause the conctete to break up. Needless to say, this constituted   irrefutable proof that the biblical account of the Great Flood actually happened.


      I could go on, but when you look throug that telescope, remember that the oldest thing you can observe in the Universe is only 6,004 years old. It's amazing how much we have deduced from just one little book!





      • Anonymous says:

        I just did a spit-take and roared the equivalent of 14 billion LOLs. Can't wait to witness the morning Sun start its revolution around the Earth tomorrow morning.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Too bad we can hardly see the stars anymore due to all the lights at night. Can't they put shades on the monster street lights so that half the light doesn't go straight up in the air and shines on the ground instead?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dealing with light pollution is a very low priority in Cayman. After Hurricane Ivan and with no power, the skies were astoundingly brilliant. Little has been done to mitigate the brightness of coastal lights, in locations where they can adversely affect hatching turtles, except by a few enlightened and commendable property owners along 7-mile Beach. There is no help given by our laws.

      Recently,  two multi-million candle power security lights have been erected on hight poles on the private property called Turtle Run, on 7-mile Beach. Anyone walking at night on the sands, and hoping to enjoy the beauty of the stars, the phosphorescence in the water and the moonlight glinting through the ripples, now has to endure seared retinas by what look like un-dipped Xenon headlights. Unfortunately, the law is of no help in this case. Things have to change, but with more sensitivity to those special  things that separate Cayman from other places, life could be so much richer.

      • Bill says:

        Concerns have been expressed regarding light pollution.  Light pollution is always a concern in site selection but, other factors need be considered as well such as availability, accessibility – will people come, security and proximity to other elements such as parking, washrooms, etc.

        In an ideal world, a 2,000 foot mountain free of mosquitoes and readily accessible would be nice but hardly likely on our little Island.  The UCCI Campus site was chosen since it was available, has excellent security, is accessible to the public, is close to other classrooms and washrooms and is adjacent to a forest preserve to the north which precludes further urban development.

        What may not be appreciated is that the telescope will be equipped with cutting edge, state of the art video imaging.  This provides not only for comfortable group viewing and uploading to the Internet but, more importantly, it is able to COMPENSATE FOR LIGHT POLLUTION.  One is referred to the following websites for more detail.  Examples of images made in the centre of large cities can be found.




        Daytime solar viewing will not be a problem and, the telesope is equipped with a Baader solar filter which allows for safe viewing of the sun.

        I hope the above alleviates any concerns amongst those not familiar with recent technological advances in this field.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amateur astronomers interested in family-friendly and portable low power viewing will find beautiful clear night skies in East End, North Side, Brac, and Little Cayman.  On a clear night the Milky Way is clearly visible with naked eye as are some of the more prominent Messier Objects.    

  6. Bill says:

    For completeness, the following donors should be recognized.

    Finanacial support:

    GreeenLightRE; Dart Foundation; Rotary Club of Grand Cayman; HSBC; CUC; Water Authority-Cayman and UCCI

    Discounted or free services:

    Doak Architecture; APEC Engineering; AndroMEP; National Concrete; A L Thompson's and Phoenix Construction

    The support of the above entities is very much appreciated.