Astronomical Gift

The donation of a unique telescope from a family of U of S alumni will open up new worlds for the College of Arts & Science’s Department of Physics & Engineering Physics.

At a reception on Friday Oct. 28, the department celebrated the Tarasoff 24-inch telescope donated by Karen Larson (BSHEc’74) and her family in memory of her husband Harry Tarasoff (BA’68, LLB’71).

The instrument is likely the largest telescope in Saskatchewan, said astronomer Richard Huziak (BusAdm’92).

The family of the telescope's builder Harry Tarasoff, who donated the instrument in his memory. Left to right: Nissa Baran, Gavril Tarasoff (with daughter Kalyna Tarasoff), Elia Tarasoff, Karen Larson.

The family of the telescope’s builder Harry Tarasoff, who donated the instrument in his memory. Left to right: Nissa Baran, Gavril Tarasoff (with daughter Kalyna Tarasoff), Elia Tarasoff, Karen Larson.

The story of the instrument’s creation is just as unique as the telescope itself. Tarasoff, a Saskatoon business owner with a passion for building and inventing, constructed it in his shop with help from his sons Gavril (BSc’04) and Elia (BSc’07) and installed it in his backyard. After Tarasoff passed away in 2008, his family donated the telescope to the Department of Physics & Engineering Physics, where he completed his first degree.

The instrument is much larger and more powerful than any optical telescope currently in the department’s possession, said senior departmental assistant Yannis Pahatouroglou, and has excellent potential for expanding the university’s research and teaching activities in astronomy. Future undergraduate astronomy students will make use of the telescope in their classes.

“We are so happy that Harry Tarasoff’s love of discovery and invention will benefit students for many years to come,” said College of Arts & Science Interim Dean Peta Bonham-Smith at the event.

The telescope is currently being prepared for installation on the roof of the Physics Building in mid-2017.

Written by Chris Putnam