The Barnard Astronomical Society Planetarium

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The idea of a planetarium addition to the observatory was born in the year 1950.

In July of 1951 Bruce Jones and Tennessee Valley Authority electrical engineer Mr. Llewellyn Evans, put together a twelve foot ribbed hemisphere in the library of the observatory. It was to be used as a test dome for a dodecahedron projector being constructed at the Warner Park Hobby Shop by Clarence T. Jones. The planetarium was the product of an anonymous gift of $12,500 and its constructors The O. B. Davis Construction Company. The design of the planetarium was of course, by Mr. Jones.

The control console was designed and built by Mr. Clarence J. Gearhart. Mr. Gearhart, known to all in the society as “CJ”, greatly inspired this paper. He died at his home in Oltewah Tennessee as it was being completed.

I am most grateful for his assistance in this work until two months prior to his passing on September 27, 1992 at age 81.

The Society awards today the Llewellyn Evans plaque for contributions of those in the society who have given of themselves to put forth the cause of amateur astronomy and telescope making. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and members of the Society produce a public planetarium program each friday evening.

Clarence T. Jones did not live to see the full completion of his dream. This is not to say that his dreams could have ever been completed. He died in hospital of a heart attack July 30, 1957 at age 71. Dr. J. Park McCallie and Dr. Karel Hujer then the observatory director, were able to make it clear to him that, “Providence will name the observatory for you”. Indeed it stands today as The Clarence T. Jones Memorial Observatory.

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