Eric Muhs


Hello. I'm a recently retired physics & astronomy teacher. In August, I contacted my colleague Armando Caussade, president-emeritus of the Puerto Rico Astronomy Society (PRAS). We've both been to the South Pole to work on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, but I hadn't heard from him in some time. "How's things there after Hurricane María?" I asked. "Not so great, but better," was the reply. After a number of conversations, Armando & I decided that perhaps the time was right to start a nonprofit, Astronomy Education with Puerto Rico (AEwPR) that could work in the mainland United States to raise significant funds to help restore astronomy education capapcity in Puerto Rico. We identified 2 primary projects: completing the restoration of the planetarium at Luis A. Ferré Science Park in Bayamon, near San Juan, and the construction of a modest public access observaotry to be run by the PRAS.

The plantarium is mostly restored, with the projection system itself being the remaining significant item. This is a very significant expense, and without it, the planetarium sits unused and empty. The month before María, it did more than $100K in ticket sales, so it was a significant economic engine as well as a thriving educational center. The planetarium is run by the Bayamon municipality, so we must state that we'll only be able to donate funds "pending authorization" form the municipal government.

The PRAS was in talks to construct a modest optical observatory with (recently renamed) Ana G. Méndez University before María struck, but if course, it's been impossible to consider forward progress again until quite recently. The university has a site ready that previously held a portable building, close to lavatories, classrooms, parking, and concessions. University staff is enthusiastic, and the PRAS has a great track record of involving local astronomy enthusiasts into their programs. San Juan of course isn't an ideal site for astronomy, except insofar as it's accessible to a very significant metropolitan population. AEwPR was able to ship a Meade 10 inch LX-200 telescope and accesories to Puerto Rico last month, which will likely become the main semi-permanently mounted telescope for the Gregory O. García Optical Observatory (named after the founder of the PRAS).  

I was able to go to Puerto Rico in November to do some presentations, see the sites, meet and interview folks, and discuss the project with the officers of PRAS. I came away completely impressed by the work of the PRAS, and the enthusiasm of the Puerto Ricans I met for science, astronomy, and education.

If you're interested in our project, you can find out more at

I've became aware of AwB's excellent work in Puerto Rico after we'd laid the groundwork, and have only great admiration for the efforts and successes already made. 



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    About Me

    Physics & Astronomy teacher for 32 years, Eric Muhs retired and started a nonprofit called "Astronomy Education with Puerto Rico" to raise money to help restore astronomy education capacity in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. You can find out more at


    Location:Seattle, Washington
    United States of America (the)