A gift to the Navarro College – Waxahachie campus of a 10-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope will give students the ability to have hands-on experiences while learning about the solar system. Making the donation of his personal telescope was Dr. Donald Capone, chairman of the Petroleum Technology Department.
“I am really happy to do this,” he said. “Donating this to the college means our students will have the equipment to observe the solar system right here on campus. Previously, I would have to have an off-campus lab at my observatory.
“My only regret was I checked and there are no sunspots to view today to show off the capability of this telescope,” he said at the presentation ceremony.
Capone purchased the telescope in 1987 for $1,500.
“This one works very well; however, I decided it was time to get a newer one with more features,” he said, sharing that his newest acquisition had a price of $7,000 “plus some extra add-ons.”
“I thought about trying to sell [the older model] on eBay or somewhere but I felt it would be better served here at the college,” Capone said.
Attending the presentation was Waxahachie campus dean, Dr. Terry Gibson.
“This means a whole lot to me as the campus dean,” Gibson said. “Getting equipment is very difficult for a community college because it is another expense and we do not get as much money through the state as we used to get.
“He can teach the class without the telescope but [having one] makes the class much more powerful for the students to actually see the planets through the telescope,” she said.
The college would have had to seek out a grant and then get approval for it to have purchased such a telescope on its own, she said.
Capone started as a physics teacher at Navarro in 2007. He has since become the head of the Petroleum Technology Department but continues to also teach physics classes.