0.94 m James Gregory Telescope seen "through"
its dome by some
crafty photographic techniques.
The observatory is a few minutes walk from the physics and astronomy building, in the middle of the University playing fields. A range of telescopes is available for both teaching and research.
Undergraduate students may undertake optional observer training sessions. Work in later years includes use of the telescopes and data taken from them. Members of the astronomical society have access to some of the telescopes to follow their own interests.
The Scott Lang building shown alongside is the most prominent building seen from the road. This recently extended building houses a research group from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, but the dome contains a 50-cm telescope plus spectrograph and CCD detector. The size of the telescope can be seen in comparison with the size of the access hatch to the dome. The University playing fields surround the observatory buildings, helping to reduce the level of stray light, or at least this is the case once the floodlights on the football/hockey pitches and tennis courts have been switched off for the night, between 9 and 10 pm.
Further down the path that leads in the direction of the sports centre are the other observational areas. The picture alongside shows (nearer the camera) the dome housing the Gregory Telescope. This is a 0.94 m (37 inch) reflector of Schmidt-Cassegrain design, and is fitted with a research quality CCD camera for direct imaging, including the ability to monitor the brightness variations of stars, active galaxies, transiting planets, etc. This is the largest operational optical telescope in the UK, and is currently playing an active part in the School's research on extra-solar planets.
The twin domes of the Napier building house two Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes,of 40-cm and 25-cm diameter, for visual observations and direct imaging with CCD cameras. These are again used for direct imaging. In addition to other uses, these are available to members of the student astronomical society. The flat roof area can also be used for work with portable telescopes.
Last updated BDS 4.11