Watching the heavens inspires dreams and expands horizons for people of all ages. To get the best possible experience, you need 1. a place without light pollution, 2. a place with consistently clear skies, and 3. some great hardware. This is my attempt to pull those three together and offer them to a wider public. I propose offering one or two nights of observing a week as a public outreach project to local schools and high schools. The rest of the observing nights will be offered to the paying public - the telescopes will be powerful enough for doing real science, and data analysis will be part of the experience under any circumstance. The observatory would be perfect for university students doing observational astronomy, but also for team building events, tourists wanting an alternative star-gazing experience, or just locals interested in astronomy.
I am an undergraduate student of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology, and a professor of Wonder, Marvel, and Adventure.
I want to build a four-telescope optical observatory in the Sardinian mountains. Concrete foundations will be made for the domes each of which will be large enough to house four would-be astronomers and an equatorial-mounted 20-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector telescope. Two traditional Sardinian shepherd's huts will serve as office facilities.
I am going to Sardinia this summer to find - and buy - a plot of land for the observatory. If funding is procured, I will quit my job and start building the observatory before the end of 2013. Progress will be published on the internet.
As high as possible on a mountain in Sardinia.
My wife is Italian and would like to return to her home country. I, on the other hand, have always had a dream of being able to make a living out of my hobby - but an observatory in always-clouded Denmark just won't fly - too little chance of successful observing nights. This is a way of satisfying both of us.