Following the untimely death of long standing member and past President, Mr Eric Tomney, the Society was bequeathed a generous sum of money to be used solely for the construction of an observatory building for use by members. The Society formed a sub-committee of the ASG Council to plan the building of the observatory, to be known as the "Eric Tomney Memorial Observatory" or ETMO for brevity.
After considering several sites for the observatory we selected a location close to the Mugdock Park Visitor Centre. This offers a well-known location not too far from Glasgow but with reasonably dark skies. It also has the potential for ASG events to be staged in collaboration with Mugdock Park using its visitor centre.
The project has been delayed for a number of reasons but particularly because we lost society Treasurer Tom Clackson to a sudden heart attack. Not only was Tom a driving force behind ETMO but he was a friend to many of us in the society and his loss was a real blow.
Putting this and other difficulties behind us we rebooted the project in 2019 and have now appointed architects Collective Architecture who have created a new design for which we have planning permission from East Dunbartonshire and Building Warrant approval from Stirling Council. (Mugdock Country Park land lies within Stirling council’s area but it is leased to East Dunbartonshire council because it is most used by residents of East Dunbartonshire.) The observatory is being constructed by a local building contractor Philip Grimley Ltd.
The current design of the observatory has one 3m diameter dome housing a 14 inch reflecting telescope, both generously donated by accomplished supernova hunter Tom Boles, with a mount and auxiliary piggy-backed scopes and other equipment that will allow us to use it for both visual eyepiece observing and imaging. We will also have an area for storage and some workspace downstairs. Although the observatory will not be operable remotely from the outset we have left that as an option for the future. We will however have internet access to it and plan to have a small weather mast, an all-sky camera and a security system.
We had imposed a deadline of having the observatory up and running by December 2020 but as with many projects, COVID-19 has interrupted our schedule and also pushed up the costs of construction. We are committed to seeing the project through and now aim for the observatory to be built and operational in 2022.
The image below shows an illustration of what the observatory will look though this has been revised in a few details. At the right of the image is the fenced enclosure of the existing weather station at Mugdock which sits at the top of the overflow car park.
Dr Andrew Conway FRAS
Astronomical Society of Glasgow,
16th February 2022
The building contractor poured the concrete foundation today. It is planned that the concrete pier to support the telescope will be poured next week.
21st February 2022
Casting of the concrete pier complete
2nd March 2022
Wooden framing being erected.
4th March 2022
Vapour barrier and wall sheeting being added
7th March 2022
Steel roof beams and wooden roof joists added
17th March 2022
Roofing and stair brackets added, dome delivered to site after repainting by Silvers Marine
29 March 2022
The dome is on! Thanks to Philip Grimley, Jim the joiner and their crew for some excellent work.
30 March 2022
The dome glints in the sunlight and is later snowed upon.
28 April 2022 - photos taken by Sinclair Curdie
The stairs are installed so we no longer have to use a ladder to get to the dome and handrail helps us not fall off!
Looking down the stairs.
ETMO is clad in Siberian larch.