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New telescope brings state-of-the-art stargazing to Edinboro University

11/14/2013

The observatory at Edinboro University recently received a long-due upgrade. With funding obtained in part by Dr. Terry Smith, who recently retired as dean of College of Arts and Sciences, and the Physics and Technology Department, the telescope that was housed in the Cooper Hall observatory has been replaced with new, state-of-the-art equipment.

The new model, a Celestron Edge HD with a 14-inch diameter optical tube, has the ability to lock on and automatically track objects for long exposures, allowing observers to see very faint, distant objects; produce high-quality images of stars, planets, nebulae, galaxies, comets and more with its charge-coupled device (CCD) camera; capture high-resolution light spectra from objects, permitting identification of their chemical composition and velocities through space using a high-resolution spectrograph; be remotely controlled from a distant site; and use GPS tracking to view any named stars and planets.

“The remotely controlled observatory provides a true scientific platform for physics students,” said Dr. Richard Lloyd, chair of the Physics and Technology Department. “With the CCD camera and high resolution spectrograph, students can explore the composition of stars, detect spectroscopic binaries and take high-quality images of solar system objects, galaxies and nebulae.”

The replaced telescope, a 16-inch vintage Celestron (the same model used by NASA to take images of the moon prior to the Apollo landings), now “stares down the T-Rex head casting” in the museum on the lower level of Cooper Hall, according to Lloyd.

“The Physics Department now has a scientific tool so that faculty can engage in mainstream astronomical research,” Lloyd continued. “The Observatory also serves as an outreach platform for the community at large, hosting public viewings that are coordinated with Planetarium shows and other events.”

For more information on the EU Physics and Technology Department, visit http://www.edinboro.edu/departments/physics/.