Welcome to the Burke-Gaffney Observatory

The Burke-Gaffney Observatory is featured in the Saint Mary's University 2022 Report to the Community, find it here!

Image inside the Burke-Gaffney Observatory dome with white ceilings and blue coloured walls. The white and black telescope is being pointed to by Tiffany Fields, Astronomy Technician, wearing yellow and Dr. Vincent Henault-Brunet looks onward as well, wearing white.

Recently, the Burke-Gaffney Observatory passed its 50th anniversary! In late January 1972, the Burke-Gaffney Observatory was officially opened. Given current COVID restrictions we plan to celebrate this milestone publicly later in the year - stay tuned!

Coincident with this anniversary, a significant capital investment was made to the observatory's equipment - a new mount (see the image below) - the Planewave L600 - replaced the 50-year-old Ealing mount in December 2021 and was fully commissioned by early January 2022. The new mount will significantly improve the overall performance of the observatory. This is because:

  • its slew speed is about 40 times faster than the old mount
  • its sky pointing accuracy is much better, and
  • it tracks the sky much better allowing for longer exposures and better quality images

We have other news to share:

  • David Lane retired from SMU at the end of 2021 after being the observatory's technician for 29 years and its director for about half of that time. 
  • We have a new Observatory Director: Dr. Vincent Henault-Brunet
  • We have welcomed a new Observatory Technician: Tiffany Fields