The Burke-Gaffney Observatory and its Dr. Ralph M. Medjuck Telescope are primary used for undergraduate astronomy education, public outreach, and modest research projects.
We are one of only two observatories in the world, along with the nearby Abbey Ridge Observatory, that can be controlled from Mastodon, Facebook Messenger, Cell phone text messaging, and a dedicated App in a fully-automatic way!
The observatory is named in honour of Reverend M. W. Burke-Gaffney , S. J (1896-1979). The new telescope, installed in December of 2013, is named in honour of Dr. Ralph M. Medjuck. It is located on the roof of the 22-storey Loyola Residence tower and was originally made possible by an anonymous benefactor who wished to honour Saint Mary's University's well-loved astronomer. It was opened in 1972 with a 16-inch Ealing telescope, but was extensively upgraded and renovated in 2013 thanks to an investment by the university and a substantial gift from Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Shirlee Medjuck.
The main instrument is a Planewave CDK24, a 0.61-metre diameter reflecting telescope. Technical details for the telescope and its instruments can be found here. The observatory also owns portable a 40-cm diameter reflecting telescope, ten 20-cm diameter reflecting telescopes (with several white light solar filters), an a dedicated solar telescope with a narrowband hydrogen alpha filter.
The Observatory is proud to focus on education, outreach, and research by allowing our students to learn by using the equipment, sharing the facility with thousands of members of the public in open house tours, and completing observations for users all over the world to contribute both to astronomy engagement and astronomy research.