Georgia State University
Sea West built and designed an observatory atop Mount Wilson in California for Georgia State University.
About the observatory
In 1997, Sea West was selected by Georgia State University as the primary contractor for building their Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array atop Mt. Wilson in California. The CHARA Array utilizes six 1-meter telescopes that are separately spaced out to a maximum baseline length of 330 meters. The light from the six telescopes is transported via vacuum tubes and recombined to form one beam of light for analysis. Using this method of interferometry, the CHARA Array has the capability of resolving details on astronomical objects so small that it is equivalent to resolving a nickel-sized object from 10,000 miles away! The primary research topics CHARA focuses on relates to stellar astrophysics, binary stars, stellar formation, and transient events such as supernovae.
As the primary contractor for building the CHARA Array, Sea West was responsible for turn-key construction of their groundbreaking observatory. Sea West handled all aspects of construction beginning with site infrastructure and facilities. The result of Sea West’s efforts culminated in the installation of six 16.6’ Ash Domes and 1-meter telescopes that made up the CHARA Array. To this day, Sea West continues to provide ongoing maintenance and support to the CHARA Array as well as the rest of the Mt. Wilson Observatory.
From the client
I and my colleagues have worked extensively with Sea West personnel, especially Eric Simison, President of the company. I have been extremely pleased with the performance of our contractor on all phases and would characterize Sea West as having provided exceptional price/performance to our project. I strongly recommend Sea West as a capable, cooperative and innovative construction firm.”
– Harold A. McAlister, PhD, Former CHARA Director