Who is Ron Dyvig?

Many people, after seeing the equipment at Badlands Observatory, seem to think that I am a professional astronomer. Well, since that is not true I believe some explanation is in order.

My interest in Astronomy was cultivated back around 1954. This was the exciting pre-Sputnik era when rocket ships and space travel only seemed a distant dream. I did, indeed, aspire to becoming a professional astronomer at one time but, as happens with most people, my formal education took a slightly different path. After graduating from Deadwood High School in 1961, I went on to college and ended up getting a B.S. degree from Black Hills State University, in 1965. My majors were a combination of Science, Math, and Music.  Music has been an important part of my life.  Playing saxophone on weekends with some local bands helped pay my way through college and then evolved into a continuous part-time occupation as I played in bands on weekends for about 25 years thereafter. I also taught science and math for several years during this period at two different Jr. high schools in Rapid City, SD, as well as an Astronomy course for BHSU at their EAFB campus.

Throughout this period of time, I had been extremely active as an amateur astronomer. I had joined the Black Hills Astronomical Society in 1957, and became president during the early 1960’s when they successfully completed construction of Hidden Valley Observatory, near Rapid City. I became very interested in optics and telescope making and, in fact, fabricated the original optics for their telescope. Unfortunately, that telescope was vandalized a couple years later.  It now has optics that were commercially manufactured. Over the years, I have completed about 12 telescope mirrors ranging in size from 3"-26" in diameter, and also participated in many other telescope projects through telescope making classes that I supervised.

A real opportunity emerged for me when I was offered a position at the University of Arizona in 1968, and for a period of about 5 years, I was employed full time at the Optical Sciences Center. While there, I was also able to take a few graduate courses in order to further my education in Astronomy and Optics. As many people know, the University of Arizona is one of the most prominent universities in the world in the fields of Optics and Astronomy. I had the opportunity to work under an astronomer, Dr. Richard Cromwell, in the Low light Level Image Tube Laboratory. Our mission was to test and evaluate new, low-light-level devices that were to be used on some of the large telescopes operated by Steward Observatory, located on Kitt Peak, about 50 miles from Tucson, AZ.

Since leaving Arizona, I have been involved in some other interesting occupations. They include operating an aerial photography company in partnership with my brother, as well as working several years as business manager for two Rapid City automobile dealerships.

When not involved with Astronomy and Optics, I have also pursued other interests, such as aviation, WW II history, and collecting antique radios and scientific instruments.

Ron Dyvig


Badlands Observatory has recently become an "Educational Affiliate" of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, based at the SDSM&T in Rapid City, SD.


Ron Dyvig, "Hidden Valley Observatory--30 Years and Counting", Observatory Techniques, No. 7, Fall 1993, Page 40-41

Ron Dyvig, "Building a Vintage-Style Telescope", Sky & Telescope, Vol. 72 No. 6, pp.647, Dec. 1986

R.H. Cromwell and Ronald R. Dyvig, "Laboratory Evaluation of Eleven Image Intensifiers", Optical Sciences Center Technical Report 81, Optical Sciences Center, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Aug. 1973

R.H. Cromwell and R.R. Dyvig, "Evaluation of Image Intensifiers for Astronomy", pp. 677-696 in Photo-Electronic Image Devices (proc. fifth symposium), J.D. McGee, D.McMullan, and E. Kahan, eds., in Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics, Vol. 33, L. Marton, ed., New York, Academic Press, 1972

R.H. Cromwell and Ron Dyvig, "Geometrical Distortion of Image Intensifiers", Optical Sciences Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2, Feb.-April, 1970, pp. 96-97, Optical Sciences Center, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Ron Dyvig, "Hidden Valley Observatory in South Dakota", Sky & Telescope, Vol. 33 No.2, Feb., 1967, pp. 98


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