Telescope Project

Good News!  The successful conclusion of the Telescope Project

We are happy to announce that with the donation of the 11-inch Celestron Telescope, Hydrogen-Alpha solar telescope, and the associated accessories including the cameras for imaging, now Science Faculty has tools to conduct successful astronomical outreach events and to carry out undergraduate research projects. Professor Chandana Jayaratne has promised to update CUFSSA on the relevant events associated with these telescopes and also provide eye-catching images of celestial objects taken with the telescopes in order to share those with the membership. Again, CUFSAA wishes to thank the membership for their generous contributions to this Project.

Purchase of the Hydrogen-Alpha Solar Telescope and the Camera

The original proposal from the Faculty expressed a desire to carry out solar observations too. A hydrogen-alpha solar telescope provides an excellent opportunity to study rapidly varying activity of the sun’s chromosphere in real time. However, as such a telescope is a standalone item from the main 11-inch Celestron telescope, a hydrogen-alpha telescope and the corresponding camera would cost more than $1,000, and the main Celestron telescope can be used to view sun’s photosphere (i.e., the layer beneath the chromosphere) including sunspots, CUFSAA decided to defer purchasing such a system until sufficient funds were available.

We are happy to inform the membership, with the remaining funds in the Telescope Project, CUFSAA was able to purchase a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope, Lunt LS50THa with B600 blocking filter ( and an appropriate CMOS camera, ZWO ASI 174mm mono ( to image the entire sun to study chromospheric activity. The Faculty plans to use this system for undergraduate research projects as well as for public outreach events. The telescope and the camera will arrive in Colombo in time to be used during the annular solar eclipse of December 26, 2019 visible from the northern Sri Lanka. We thank the membership for their generous contributions to the Telescope Project, which made this a reality.

Purchase of the 11-inch Celestron Telescope and the Accessories

One of the reasons that CUFSAA is so proud of its membership is their passionate loyalty to the alma mater, Faculty of Science and their continuing eagerness to support that institution in whatever way possible. We just saw yet another shining example of this spirit. We are proud to say that, barely three months since we sent our very first email requesting funds to sponsor a state of the art telescope to the Faculty, our membership rallied and sponsored the full amount required for the purchase of the telescope and all its accessories.  Thank You!, alumni and friends, for an exceptional job done!

The official handing over ceremony of the 11-inch Celestron Telescope donated by CUFSAA to University of Colombo Science Faculty was held at 9am on Wednesday August 15th 2018 at the Science Faculty. CUFSAA members visiting Sri Lanka during this time was in attendance. This was one of the major projects undertaken by CUFSAA. The generous contributions by our members and well-wishers made this feasible and we are delighted to report its successful conclusion.

We collected an amount of  $10,147.28, more than sufficient to cover the cost of telescope and all the required accessories. The telescope has arrived at the Faculty and is now in active use by the Faculty. Thanks to your magnanimous donations, generations of future Colombo university students and Sri Lankans at large will get the opportunity to study the star-studded sky over the campus grounds with same awe and fascination as you, and us once did. Furthermore, the state of the art telescope and the accessories that come with it will surely make the experience far more spectacular than what we had during our undergraduate days.

A team of former students of the faculty who pursued astronomy as a career and are now top professionals in North America, graciously invested many hours of their expertise, trying to find the best possible solution for the science faculty. In the end, together with input from the Faculty, they recommended an optimal solution. The selection was made keeping educational as well as public outreach trends in mind. The telescope should provide many years of astronomical aspiration for university students and Sri Lankans at large. However, this is not the only benefit of this endeavor.We also envision that the telescope and its accessories will provide many undergraduate research opportunities for our final year Physics Special students. The Physics department is already planning these projects.

The telescope which CUFSAA purchased for our faculty is a Celestron CPC 1100 GPS ( We also bought several important accessories with it, including astronomical cameras (e.g., ), a multi-lens corrector which enables one to capture astronomical photos at 25-times shorter exposure time (, eyepieces, and filters.  The total cost of the package (including shipping to Sri Lanka), we are proud to say, was covered with the contributions from our membership. CUFSAA appreciates and offers sincere thanks to our membership for all the contributions towards making this project a total success.

Photos of the 11-inch Celestron Telescope Donated by CUFSAA

Celestial Images captured by the Telescope

Project Proposal: Purchase and Donate an Astronomical Telescope to the Faculty of Science (Completed)

Please read the complete project proposal from this link: CUFSAA Proposal for a telescope

We are calling all CUFSAA members and well-wishers to help raise funds to buy an astronomical telescope for the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. Most of you will recall that our first passion for science in general, physics and mathematics in particular , rose from the sheer awe which we had for things which grace the night sky, a passion almost all of us still have as we try to not to miss any significant astronomical events. Yes, as we take out our deck chairs to watch meteor showers, grand alignments of planets, the brief but much anticipated showcasing of comets or try to inspire our kids to do star gazing, we are reliving a magic which started in tropical skies several seas away. Even now, the awesomeness of astronomy truly unifies all scientists. What more proof of this shared spirit do we need than recall how all of us got energized a few months ago in reaction to the total solar eclipse, with some folks crossing state lines to catch the best glimpse of its spectacular glory?

If we throwback to the years gone by, those who graced the Science Faculty, especially in the eighties would recall the dome on the campus grounds and the wondrous astronomical experience it offered us before the vintage telescope encased ended its lifespan. Many of you might also recall the fun and the scientific stimulation experienced during the various excursions you would have had to observe the almost theatrical appearances of comets such as Halley and Hale-Bopp.

The Department of Physics, University of Colombo and the Astronomical Society of Faculty of Science University of Colombo, Sri Lanka are currently making stellar contributions to inspire the next generation of science enthusiasts in Sri Lanka by conducting many programs, not just at the Faculty but all over the country.

The Department of Physics, University of Colombo is in urgent need of a good astronomical telescope to support their many programs, both for our own undergraduates as well as Sri Lankans in general. They made a request to CUFSAA soliciting our kind patronage to purchase one. We studied the proposal carefully, with our own astronomy experts based in North America, who once upon a time were inspired students of astronomy in our own Faculty, working incredibly hard to come up with the optimal solution. We have now decided to sponsor the Department of Physics, University of Colombo with an ultramodern astronomical telescope. Needless to say, telescopes have come a long way since those early days of stargazing and the state of the art telescope which we selected comes equipped with the ability to interface with computers and the department is already planning to fully infuse such features into the final year projects of our undergraduates.

The cost of the telescope that we are planning to purchase is US$ 7000 plus shipping. We are hereby asking our members and well-wishers to kindly contribute toward this wonderful initiative in this holiday season, in the spirit of the gratitude we all have for our alma mater and our land of birth. We at CUFSAA, feel that, through this project, we will open a window to many a future generation of Sri Lankan scientists.

We appreciate your contribution or the pledge within the next two weeks to take advantage of special end of the year prices. CUFSAA is a registered nonprofit organization in the United States and your donations should qualify as deductible from US income taxes.

Final Donations Update: US $ 10,147.28.

We are pleased to announce that we have exceeded our fund raising target of $ 7000 for the Telescope Project with your generous donations. We had used the excess funds to donate additional accessories to the Science Faculty of the University of Colombo.

Thank you very much!