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FACILITIES

We have a suite of telescopes for student use in the McConnell Rooftop Observatory at the Clark Science Center. Our two large computer controlled telescopes, each in separate housing with permanent mounts, are a 16" Meade LX200 ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain (above) and a 12" Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain. Our latest addition is a 10" Meade RCX 400, kindly donated by Aimee Girard, class of 2010. We also have eight portable 8" Schmidt-Cassegrains that can be set up on rooftop observing platforms or taken to the Whately Observatory, a dark site off campus that houses a 16-inch Boller and Chivens reflector. For solar viewing we have the Lisa Abrams (Class of '90) Coronado Solar Max 90 scope, equipped with a special red filter for viewing flares and erupting prominences through the light of hot hydrogen gas, along with a pair of Coronado Personal Solar Telescopes with a red hydrogen and a blue calcium filter. Our instrumentation for data acquisition includes two 2K x 3K SBIG CCD cameras with standard UBVRI sets of astronomical filters for color imaging, 5 Meade Deep Sky Imaging (DSI) cameras, and a Nikon digital camera.

The telescopes of the McConnell Rooftop Observatory are in use by students every clear night during the academic year. We have 3 courses dedicated to astronomical observing with telescopes: AST 103, AST 113 and AST 337. The telescopes are open for public viewing on a regular basis each semester. Some images taken with our 16-inch by FCAD Fellow Rob Gutermuth are here.

Other local telescopes include the Amherst College Wilder Observatory, with an 18" refractor; the UMass Orchard Hill Observatory 16", and the Williston Observatory 24" reflector at Mount Holyoke. Astronomical facilities of all five institutions are available for student use.