Equipment

We have an 11-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, housed in a dedicated 3.5-metre diameter dome in the roof of the Physics building. This is a good quality, modern telescope providing excellent image quality over a wide field.

The scope is attached to a computerised CGE-PRO mount, which enables easy location of observational targets, and excellent tracking performance for long exposures (when it's behaving, at least).

The telescope is normally equipped with both an eyepiece and CCD camera, selectable with a flip mirror. This makes it relatively painless to switch between observing by eye and using the camera. Collecting photons with your own retina is special, but imaging is essential for faint objects and accurate measurements.

The sensitive, low-noise CCD detector has six megapixels, with a 'RGBG Bayer' matrix overlaid, which enables convenient 'one-shot' capture of colour images. Images are read-out to a computer located in the dome, where they may be examined and processed.

Projects

The primary purpose of the telescope is for use in undergraduate projects, conducted during the 3rd year of the Physics course. A variety of projects are offered, on topics such as measuring distances to star clusters, determining orbits of minor planets, and detecting transits of extrasolar planets.

Each of these projects aims to start with students obtaining raw data with the telescope, which they then process and analyse to reproduce key measurements. The project is assessed by a report describing the work carried out.

General access

While priority is given to undergraduate project students, all members of the University's Physics Society (PhysSoc) are welcome to use the telescope, once they have received training. Introductory training sessions will be advertised periodically.

A Facebook group is used for coordinating observing sessions, announcements and general discussion. Trained users are encouraged to join this group.

Please note that only trained users may use the telescope. Furthermore, only those who have completed additonal 'trainer training' are permitted to supervise and train new users.

Please contact either the PhysSoc astronomy secretary or the observatory director (Dr. Steven Bamford) with any queries.

Resources

Below are a selection of links to relevant documents and other resources that may help with your observations.

Documents and forms

Software

Useful links

Calibration star catalogues

  • To establish an absolute photometric calibration for a field using the USNO URAT catalogue, which uses APASS photometry, is recommended. Here is an example link to the catalogue at VizieR for bright stars in M103. You can edit the query for any other target area.

Equipment manuals

Key information

Useful tips and details about the telescope setup will be collected here.

  • The CCD has 3032x2016 pixels, with a pixel scale of 0.54 arcsec/pixel.
  • The CCD field of view is therefore 27x18 arcmin (about half the full moon).
  • The CCD gain is 0.4 electrons per ADU.
  • The Bayer matrix configuration (for AstroImageJ Debayer Image/Stack) is B-G-B-G.
  • More to come...

Equipment

The School has a dedicated solar telescope, housed in its own dome on the Physics building roof.

Projects

The solar telescope is primarily used for 3rd-year undergraduate projects. Projects include characterising the differential rotation of the Sun, and studying sunspot activity.

General access

There is no general access at to the solar telescope at this time.

Resources

More to come...

Key information

More to come...

Equipment

The School has two radio telescopes, located on the roof of the Physics building.

Projects

The radio telescopes are occasionally used for 3rd-year undergraduate projects.

General access

There is no general access at to the radio telescopes at this time.

Resources

More to come...

Key information

More to come...

These images were not taken with the telescope, but ones that were will eventually appear here: