Equipment Used at the Observatory

An excellent primary on telescopes that can be used as both to understand the terminology
and to assist the buyer of a new telescope can be found here.

The Starmaster 14.5"

The largest of the observatory's telescopes is the 14.5" Starmaster Newtonian telescope. This telescope is used not only for lunar research, but also for observing "deep sky" objects such as galaxies, star clusters, nebulae and other objects. Equipped with the Sky Engineering SkyCommander digital computer, it is capable of locating objects in the sky with pinpoint accuracy. The telescope uses a 2" eyepiece format, allowing use of the popular Nagler style eyepieces which give breath taking wide angle views of both the moon, planets and "deep sky" objects. This is also the main telescope used in the outreach program.

The Starmaster 8"

The second largest of the observatory's telescopes is the 8" Starmaster Newtonian telescope. This telescope is a dedicated lunar telescope, and is used in the occultation (stellar eclipse) research program. The telescope uses the 1¼" format eyepiece, since when trying to view stars close to the limb of the moon, the narrower field of views help reduce the glare caused by the moon's brightness. The telescope is small and compact and is easily transportable to remote observing sites to collect the data needed in this research program.Occasionally it will be used for the public outreach programs.

Orion 6" f12 Mak-Cassegrain

This telescope is the smallest owned by the observatory. It is small and compact and is used in the outreach program. The telescope is mounted onto a Celestron CG-5 mount, with an electronic tracking system. It uses the 1¼" format eyepiece. A small video camera can be attached to the telescope to record images of the moon and planets. The telescope is also the only one used by the observatory to observe the sun by use of special filters attached to the front of the telescope. WARNING: Do not ever point your telescope at the sun. Permanent eye damage and severe burns are the result!

Additional Accessories

The picture to the left shows some of the components that can be used with the various telescopes. Three cameras are pictured - the Supercircuts PC23A and PC164 along with the Phillips ToUcam 840k. With the PC23A and PC164 images can be recorded directly to TV/VCR combo unit to VHS tape format and then later captured via the Snappy frame grabber. With the tape format, WWV time signals can be overlayed via the Radio Shack radio during the recording for accurate timing of stellar occultations used in the occultation research programs.The ToUcam sends real time images directly to the computer for digital image processing. Programs such as Registax are used to "stack" individual frames and processed for extremely detailed images of the moon and planets.

last updated June 28, 2005

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