A robotic observatory in the city

Ruch, Gerald T. and Johnston, Martin E. (2012) A robotic observatory in the city. American Journal of Physics, 80 (5). pp. 439-444. ISSN 0002-9505, 1943-2909

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Abstract

The University of St. Thomas (UST) Observatory is an educational facility integrated into UST's undergraduate curriculum as well as the curriculum of several local schools. Three characteristics combine to make the observatory unique. First, the telescope is tied directly to the support structure of a four-story parking ramp instead of an isolated pier. Second, the facility can be operated remotely over an Internet connection and is capable of performing observations without a human operator. Third, the facility is located on campus in the heart of a metropolitan area where light pollution is severe. Our tests indicate that, despite the lack of an isolated pier, vibrations from the ramp do not degrade the image quality at the telescope. The remote capability facilitates long and frequent observing sessions and allows others to use the facility without traveling to UST. Even with the high background due to city lights, the sensitivity and photometric accuracy of the system are sufficient to fulfill our pedagogical goals and to perform a variety of scientific investigations. In this paper, we outline our educational mission, provide a detailed description of the observatory, and discuss its performance characteristics.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
RTSRE Related Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2017 04:48
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2018 06:05
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/628

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