It’s sad that, after 34 years, the Lake Afton Public Observatory will close next month. Because of declining attendance (only about 4,000 visitors a year) and the loss of sponsorships, Wichita State University decided it could no longer afford to operate the observatory, which is owned by Sedgwick County. Part of the reason for the decline is that people can see amazing pictures of distant planets and galaxies on home computers and smartphones. Still, it’s not the same as pressing your eye to the viewfinder of the observation’s 16-inch telescope and seeing Saturn and its rings. – Phillip Brownlee
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