Nov 20, 2013 1:39 PM
Kris Koenig, Director of the Kiwanis Chico Community observatory, stated today all the batteries and cables for the solar power system need to be replaced, the cost of which is estimated to be around $5,000.
Chico Electric is providing a discount for the cost of labor, but the observatory has set up a link on their facebook page to receive donations.
Donations can also be received through the North Valley Community Foundation.
On November 13, volunteers entered the facility and noticed an acrid smell of hot plastic being emitted from the observatory’s battery bank. Volunteers shut down the charging system to prevent further damage or fire. It has been closed ever since. The observatory celebrated its 12th anniversary on November 17.
Volunteers are hopeful they will still be able to host a special viewing event for the comet ISON, which will become visible to the unaided eye next week.
Related Story: Chico Observatory Goes Dark Until Further Notice