Maranda at Work: Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society

Maranda at Work: The Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - If you want to see the stars in Shreveport — all you have to do is travel to the Ralph A. Worley Observatory.

You’ll find telescopes, books, and most importantly members of the Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society.

Joey Matheson’s loved everything about this branch of science since he was a kid.

“My mother had bought me a small telescope, and I was so ignorant about using the telescope and astronomy that when I looked at things in the sky I didn’t realize that I was looking at them out of focus," he said.

Matheson’s been a member of the society for over ten years and currently serves as president, but surprisingly his career choice was as far as the galaxies beyond the skies.

“I started with the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus, and I went to the first clown college there," he said.

Over 40 years later he eventually found his way to Louisiana and joined the society. Jennie Goodwin’s journey to the society was a little different.

“I had a science teacher that inspired me and I just thought it was the most interesting thing," she said.

So after attending her first star party in 1966 she joined and soon became the group’s secretary.

Officers of the Shreveport Astronomical Society back in 1967 (Source: Jennie Goodwin)
Officers of the Shreveport Astronomical Society back in 1967 (Source: Jennie Goodwin)

“It has really been interesting,"she said. "At our regular meetings we have guest speakers or speakers from the club and you learn. You pick up more information.”

Soon I was learning about the stars, and getting a firsthand look at the equipment use to see them.

While talking about everything was fun, deep down this group and the place they call home needs help.

“When it comes to the equipment and everything, we have to keep it up and running before we can help anybody learn about astrophotography or astronomy," Matheson said.

Over the years the observatory has slowly started to fall apart, and while the group works to repair and keep things going, they can only do so much.

“My biggest fear is that it will close," Goodwin said. "It will get to where we can’t afford to keep it up, and the observatory will have to be closed and perhaps bulldozed down.”

Despite the condition of the observatory, the society will continue to hold on to this building and share their love for astronomy with those ready to reach the stars.

“Who knows where the next astronaut or astronomer may be in our Shreveport-Bossier area," Goodwin said.

The society’s next star gazing party will be on National Astronomy Day on Oct. 5th The event is free to the public.

If you would like to learn more about the society or donate money to help keep up the observatory, click HERE.

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