interior static banner

14-inch Celestron Telescope Donated to King University’s Burke Observatory

BRISTOL, Tenn., Nov. 16, 2015 – King University and its Burke Observatory have received a donation of a 14-inch Celestron telescope. The donation was made by Mr. Wayne Manley, a member of the Bristol Astronomy Club (BAC).

“We are so thankful to Wayne for his generous donation to the University,” said Dr. Han Chuan Ong, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at King University. “This is a larger telescope than what we have been using at the observatory. It will be of great value to our program and students as it increases our capability to perform research.”

During a recent conversation with Mr. Manley and Tom Rutherford, adjunct professor of Physics at King and president of the BAC, Mr. Manley proposed a swap. “Wayne asked me if I thought King would be interested in swapping the 11-inch telescope the University currently was using with the larger 14-inch telescope he possessed. I said I’ll talk with Ray Bloomer [emeritus professor of Physics and Astronomy at King] about that,” said Rutherford.

“The new larger telescope collects approximately 61% more light, which means we can see things that are fainter and farther away. We can now see things that are much more interesting,” says Bloomer. “Because we can see fainter objects in the same length of time of gathering data, [the 14-inch telescope] is more efficient for conducting research.”

With everyone on board, the swap was made. “We did not have a mount that could carry the 14-inch telescope though we tried for a short time,” said Rutherford. “Ray and I spent many hours working to improve the performance of the telescope on the existing mount, but tracking issues persisted.”

“We concluded we needed a new, more robust mount to hold the new 14-inch telescope,” said Bloomer. “With the heavier telescope, we needed heavier counterweights to balance it.”

A new mount was purchased using money from donations including a contribution by the Burke Observatory Fund as well as Dr. Vanessa Fitsanakis by way of her Dr. Edward W. Burke, Jr. Professorship in the Natural Sciences.

“We then had to build a way to adapt the new mount to the concrete pier on which it sits at the observatory. I received a recommendation for a company located close to campus who would be able to create the adapter. Master Model Craft, Inc., of Bristol, Tenn., was gracious enough to build the adapter for us. Dr. Bloomer and Mr. Rutherford are currently calibrating the new 14-inch telescope for accurate alignment with the Earth’s axis.

“Mr. Wayne Manley’s benevolence and members of Master Model Craft, Inc. made this all possible,” said Ong. “We are grateful and look forward to actively utilizing the impressive piece of equipment both within our science programs and for future astronomical events open to the community.”

For additional information about King University’s Physics and Astronomy programs and the Burke Observatory contact Dr. Han Chuan Ong at 423.652.6007,, or visit


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.