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Astronomical Observatory Dedicated

Israel’s first astronomical observatory, a joint project of Tel Aviv University and the Smithsonian Institution of Washington. D.C., was dedicated this week at Mitzpe Ramon, a Negev oasis 100 miles south of Tel Aviv. About 150 invited guests, including prominent scientists from Israel and abroad, attended the ceremonies which named the observatory in honor of George C. Wise, president of Tel Aviv University and his wife, Florence. The $1.5 million project was financed through donations. It will provide the university’s department of physics and astronomy with first rate observational facilities.

The observatory is centered around a 40-inch telescope and highly sophisticated equipment which makes it one of the most modern in the world. It will be used for research by American and Israeli scientists into the solar cycle and extra-galactic regions. It was first employed during the latest Appollo moon flight last summer. The observatory stands at an elevation of 3,400 feet in the Negev desert. The site was selected because it is virtually cloud free, has low humidity and is distant enough from urban centers not to be affected by their lights.

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