Sisters grad operates ‘Hopservatory’
Last updated 7/30/2019 at Noon
Grant Tandy, a Sisters High School graduate, is the manager at the Worthy Brewing Company “Hopservatory” in Bend.
The observatory contains a 16-inch reflecting telescope, a Ritchey-Chrétien reflector made by RC Optical systems. The scope is a research-grade telescope capable of viewing planets and galaxies that are far away.
Tandy graduated from Sisters High School in 2011 and attended COCC for two years and obtained general education requirements while trying to figure out what he wanted to do. He always had a fascination for the night sky and viewing the stars.
“Growing up in Sisters with dark starry skies triggered my interest in astronomy. I was always a curious kid wondering how things worked, and astronomy was an interest for me,” said Tandy.
He took Rima Givot’s astronomy class in high school as well as IEE (Interdisciplinary Environmental Expedition) and was grateful for the opportunities brought forth by IEE, being a hands-on learning program focused on the outdoors.
Tandy got his astronomy and telescope training from Oregon Observatory manager Bob Grossfield. Tandy worked for the observatory in Sunriver while living in Bend after going to COCC.
“I learned everything from working at the observatory under Grossfield, who has multiple PHDs. I was more working on the side of speaking to the public about astronomy versus the research aspect of astronomy, which was Grossfield’s area as a physicist,” said Tandy.
Ever since his high school days, it was in the back of Tandy’s mind that he wanted to work in an observatory.
“I loved the idea of looking at the stars and getting paid for it,” he said. “I never cared about a degree, I just care about being able to inspire and educate people about the sky.”
The Oregon Observatory hosted many school events and Tandy loved seeing the inspiration on kids’ faces.
“I get cute letters back from kids saying they want to be scientists when they grow up; it is great to plant that seed,” he said.
Tandy explained that astronomy is a sort of gateway science and it is fun to be the one explaining the sky to the public, and locally affecting people.
“I like to talk to the public about the sky, and it is fun to talk about something I am passionate about and learn from the people around me all the time,” he said.
The idea for the Hopservatory came about when Rodger Worthington, owner of Worthy Brewing Company, was inspired by events at the Oregon Observatory. The Garden Club, the sustainability center and 501 nonprofit foundation at Worthy Brewing operates the Hopservatory, which Tandy now manages.
The Garden Club is separate from the brewery itself, and rents out space and runs off donations as a nonprofit while working in conjunction with the Oregon Observatory. Tandy heard the idea for the “Hopservatory” coming about and started emailing the managers at Worthy and the Garden Club to try and get the job running the observatory, based off his knowledge and experience at the Oregon Observatory.
“The event at Stars over Newberry Crater is where I met Rodger and got him inspired, and we started talking and our ideas for an observatory aligned and we got the donations for the equipment and came up with the idea for the observatory as part of the garden club,” said Tandy.
A few months later, the Hopservatory, three stories above Worthy Brewery, became a reality, opening in May 2017.
Tandy runs the events and viewings five days a week at the observatory. He works split shifts where he comes into the brewery in the late day and begins figuring out what is visible on a given day and what he may show for the evening. Tandy also plans events for the garden club and works on promotional materials and event planning for the club as well as the Hopservatory. Then, in the evening, announces to guests that the observatory is open for viewing.
“I guide guests who come up as to what we are looking at on the given night and explain the details of the telescope, and that it can look into deep space and what is visible to us,” he said.
As stated on their website and reiterated by Tandy: “The Worthy Garden Club Hopservatory opened in May of 2017 with the goal of raising scientific literacy and educating our visitors about big and unwieldy concepts like scale, size, time, distance, and speed in our solar system and beyond. We want people to be amazed and humbled by the beauty and diversity of our galactic garden as well as inspired to take care of our own planet.”
The Hopservatory is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 9 p.m., with a suggested donation for viewing of $5 per person. All proceeds from tours go to the Worthy Garden Club (WGC) to support science literacy programs and initiatives.