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Lucerne Valley Library Observatory Installed This Week

The installation of a 3-meter motorized ScopeDome observatory at the Lucerne Valley Janice Horst Branch Library was completed earlier this week. The library’s new state-of-the-art observatory space became a reality thanks to an agreement with Tierra Luna Engineering, the company founded and led by renowned astronaut Dr. Jose Hernandez, and San Bernardino County. Tierra Luna Engineering specializes in creating top-tier educational products in science and technology to increase student interest in STEM programs.
The newly installed observatory equipment includes a motorized ScopeDome, marking the first observatory with this feature in the United States. Library staff will be trained to operate the observatory and telescopes for various programs. Staff will also spend time working to transform the library's Community Room into an astronomy exploration station to accommodate future visitors and school field trips.
The observatory project is being completed through our continued partnership with retired NASA Astronaut, Dr. Jose Hernandez.  Installation of the observatory began Monday and was expected to be completed on Wednesday, June 12. Dr. Hernandez is on site for the installation, along with engineers from the Prima Luce Lab.
Third District Supervisor Rowe expressed excitement over this first-of-its-kind observatory debuting in the Third District. "This project will allow the county to engage students in real-world, career-focused, hands-on STEM educational programs focusing on space science,” she said. “This collaboration between the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Tierra Luna Engineering aims to inspire youth and address the growing demand for skilled professionals in STEM fields.”  
Dr. Hernandez is a former migrant farmworker and NASA astronaut and is best known as the inspiring figure behind the  2023 feature film “A Million Miles Away” starring actor Michael Peña. The cutting-edge addition will enhance students’ exposure to real-world, career-focused, hands-on STEM educational programs, with a particular emphasis on space science.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the project in late 2023.
Once the observatory installation has been completed, the Library staff will then be trained to operate the observatory and telescopes for library programs.  The Community Room inside the library will be transformed into an Astronomy exploration station, complete with a vinyl wall wrap and manipulatives.  This work will be completed over the summer to allow for Summer Reading Program to commence as planned. 
An Inaugural Observatory Exhibition event is expected to take place on the evening of Saturday, August 3.  
Observatory 1
Observatory 2
Observatory 3
Observatory 4
Observatory 6