The Wilkinson Observatory (Eastend, SK)

The Wilkinson Observatory (Eastend, SK)

Location: Eastend, SK

Location: The observatory is located 5 km. South of Eastend on Red Coat Highway #13.
Cost:  $5.00 per person suggested donation. Children 6 and under free.
Contact:  306.295.3323 or email:  eastend@sasktel.net

Here you will find a Celestron Ultima 11” 2800 mm focal length telescope with eye pieces ranging from 40 mm to 10.5 mm and various filters. The tracking system now has an automatic tracking system installed so it is easier to operate.

Hop in your car and drive south of town on the Red Coat Highway 13 to the Wilkinson Memorial Observatory.  You’ll need a guide to open the observatory and operate the equipment, so before you go, ask at the Tourism Information Booth in Eastend or phone for an appointment : 306-295-3323 OR after hours phone 306-295-7970.

Special Event Dates:

  • April 29th – International Astronomy Day – An Open House with Solar and Dark Sky Viewing, starting at 4:00pm, Cost is Free!
  • July 1st – Canada 150 Celebration: Historical Tour and Info- Talk on the Wilkinson Memorial Observatory and Public daytime & nightime viewing. Starting at 4:00pm.
  • Aug 12 & 13th – Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing – bring a lawn chair/blanket/empty small swimming pool (to lay in) to the Wilkinson Observatory count the number of falling stars (meteorites). Starts at dark (around 10:30 pm).
  • Aug 21st – Solar Eclipse – gather at 10am to setup and watch.

Watch for programming on: Learning The Sky; Viewing With Binoculars; and Astrophotography, to name a few – Stay tuned!

Who Operates the Wilkinson Observatory?

We are an excited  and diverse group of amateur astronomers and love to share our passion with everyone! We stay as long as people are interested, often way into the night – there is always lots to see. Some of us take our own telescopes up for people to view through too, so people are able to see a variety of planets, stars, galaxies, etc. The International Space Station often flies over and often we are privy to Iridium Flares that are brilliant to see.

We give Public Skywatching/Viewing Tours on demand, just call 1-306-295-3323 or eastend@sasktel.net to book a Sky Tour. If you are ever just driving by and notice our vehicles up there please stop in. We can handle 20 people  (or more) at a time, and will do a tour for as few as a couple people.

Wilkinson Observatory, Eastend, SK

 

 

The Story of the Wilkinson Observatory:
In the late 1940’s, Eastend’s blacksmith and machinist developed a keen interest in astronomy.  His name was Jack Wilkinson, and his son remembers how his father would talk about being a janitor in Mt. Palomar, one of the biggest and most advanced observatories of the day.  Palomar was a long way away, so Jack started building his own telescopes.  His first effort was a 4″ refractor.  Next came a 6″ and then an 8″ reflecting telescope, for which Jack hand ground his own lenses.  He also built mouldings for both telescopes.  For the 6″, he used the crank case of an old aircraft engine.  For the 8″, he used the top of an old steam boiler.  Finally, Jack designed and built gear trains to make the telescopes accurately track the motion of the stars.

At first, the 8″ telescope sat in Jack’s machine shop.  Folks would drop by for a chat and maybe a peak at the rings of Saturn or the craters on the moon.  But Jack wanted the real thing, and he enlisted his neighbours to help build a small observatory.  When Jack died in 1953, the town kept up the observatory and renamed it the Wilkinson Memorial Observatory.  It opened to the public in 1955.  Since then, it has been offering residents and visitors a closer look at the skies.

For a fun time of checking out the moon, stars and planets in the sky, give this a try.

For more information click HERE to view a Fact Sheet on the Wilkinson Memorial Observatory.

 

The Wilkinson Observatory in Eastend, SK